Russia’s demands on Ukraine cannot be seen as coercion to capitulate, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“I don’t think that it can be qualified in this way,” the head of the department said, answering the question whether the fulfillment of the requirements set by Moscow would lead to the surrender of Ukraine. “The main thing here is not the term that will be used. We propose an agreement,” the minister explained.
According to Lavrov, these agreements are aimed at ensuring equality for all peoples living in Ukraine, including national minorities. The latter means Hungarians, Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians, the minister explained. The agreement will be reached if the Ukrainian government agrees with the conditions put forward, the head of the department noted.
Russian troops have been sent to Kyiv to demilitarize Ukraine, Lavrov added. Moscow also wants to “prevent further bloodshed in Ukraine” and prevent the country from being used as a “springboard for an attack” on Russia, the minister said.
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR). He signed federal laws on the ratification of treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with these territories, including military assistance. On February 24, Russia announced the start of a special military operation in the Donbass. Putin called the purpose of the operation “the protection of people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” At the same time, he noted that Russia has no plans to occupy Ukraine, but Moscow will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of this country. The US, Canada, EU, UK, Japan and other countries have announced the imposition of sanctions against Russia.
On February 28, the first stage of negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations took place in Belarusian Gomel. During the meeting, the parties discussed the terms of the ceasefire and agreed to meet again. As Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of Zelensky’s office, said at a press conference, “the parties have identified a number of priority topics on which certain decisions have been made.” President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv did not get the desired result from the negotiations. Today the Belta agency reported that the delegation from Russia again went to the place of negotiations with the Ukrainian side.