‘No breakthrough’ in Russia/Ukraine talks

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RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke yesterday about his talks with the Ukraine regime’s Foreign Minister, earlier that morning. At a press conference, attended by international media including Western media, he confirmed that there were no major breakthroughs.

Lavrov met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba for the first time since the invasion began.

The pair had a trilateral meeting with Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of an international diplomacy forum already happening in Antalya, Turkey.

Lavrov made it clear that there was no progress on Russians demands that Ukraine will never join NATO, that the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk and the Crimea are recognised by Ukraine as independent and said that the Russian ‘Special Military Operation’ will continue until they have ‘demilitarised and de-Nazified’ the country.

Lavrov said: ‘We see that there are real negotiations going on between the two delegations in Belarus and we have confirmed from this conversation that the direction of the conflict has no alternatives.

‘On the initiates of our Turkish friends (Who are mediating the talks) we discussed some humanitarian issues.

‘We talked about the steps that our military are taking on the ground in order to make the situation for the civilians much easier.

‘They are being used as human shields, as hostages by the nationalist battalions and we know these facts and we know these facts very well.

‘On a regular basis our officials have been publishing updates for the media, and we have confirmed that the initiative that was proposed by the Russian side, to daily open humanitarian corridors this is still in force.

‘And the route of these corridors are being determined by those who control the situation on the ground.

‘On the basis of selecting the most effective, the safest route for evacuating civilians. This is what we talked about today and I am happy to answer your questions.’

The BBC asked about whether he is confident that there can now be a 24-hour ceasefire.

Lavrov answered: ‘I can tell you about how the Special Military Operation is going ahead. The operation is proceeding according to plan.

‘In terms of the supply of weapons from abroad, yes we see how dangerously our Western colleagues are acting, including the European Union who is in violation of all its principles and values, supplying deadly weapons, including thousands of rockets launchers. Where thousands of these rocket launchers end up in the end, we want to ask this question of our European Union colleagues.’

He continued: ‘As for your question about “Are we planning to attack other countries?” The answer is that we are not planning to attack other countries.

‘We did not attack Ukraine. We explained to Ukraine many times that there is a situation which is posing direct threats to the Russian Federation.

‘Despite many years of our warnings and concerns, nobody listened to us. President Putin has explained this in detail many times.’

He added: ‘Those who are pumping Ukraine with weapons, they need to understand that they have a responsibility for their actions. Also those who are encouraging the flow of mercenaries to the Ukraine to fight in accordance with those ultra-radical traditions of the battalions that are active on the Ukrainian side.’