Last update: May 27, 2024 14:25

Newsroom logo

Russia Says Will Continue Hostilities in Ukraine Despite Peace Talks Prospects

By Vusala Abbasova April 21, 2024

None

Lavrov expressed concerns that any pause in hostilities could provide Ukraine with an opportunity to regroup its forces, citing past instances, such as during the 2022 Istanbul negotiations. / RIA Novosti

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has reasserted that Moscow has no intentions to stop the fighting in Ukraine, even if peace talks commence.

Lavrov's remarks came during a comprehensive interview with the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on Friday, where he asserted Russia's position regarding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“There is no faith (in Kyiv), therefore, if new negotiations begin, there will be no pause in hostilities, they will continue,” Lavrov stated in the interview, highlighting Russia's skepticism towards the Ukrainian government's commitment to peace.

Lavrov expressed concerns that any pause in hostilities could provide Ukraine with an opportunity to regroup its forces, citing past instances, such as during the 2022 Istanbul negotiations.

“Moscow will not repeat this mistake. At the same time, Russia is ready for dialogue, but on Russian terms,” Lavrov added.

The Russian Foreign Minister also emphasized that the ground realities in Ukraine have significantly changed and must be acknowledged. He pointed to factors such as changes in the Russian Constitution and the presence of disputed regions as crucial elements that needed to be addressed in any negotiations.

Lavrov dismissed the "Zelensky Formula," proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, as inadequate for resolving the Ukrainian conflict, citing its failure to address Russia's demands.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine further escalated in September 2022 when Russia announced its decision to incorporate four regions of Ukraine into its territory, despite controlling only parts of the claimed territories. This move, condemned by the Western countries and the United Nations, fueled tensions in the region.

Since February 2022, multiple rounds of peace talks have been held but each concluded without a successful agreement. Officials in Kyiv, skeptical of Russia's commitment to peace, refused dialogue after the 2022 Ukrainian eastern counteroffensive.

President Zelensky said ceasefire negotiations with Moscow could only begin once the Russian military completely pulls out of his country.

In an interview with Tucker Carlson in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is ready to negotiate with Zelensky, who had previously declared that he would never negotiate with Putin. Putin urged him to reverse that decision. On April 11, Putin reaffirmed his readiness to return to the draft agreement with Ukraine agreed on in Istanbul.

Ukraine and Russia have been at odds since the 2014 crisis in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions. Ukraine accused Russia of annexing the Crimean Peninsula – a territory that extends into the Black Sea – and backing anti-government separatist regimes in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The Moscow-backed referendum held in March 2014 allegedly revealed that over 90 percent of Crimea's residents wanted the peninsula to be under Russian control. However, the vote was declared illegitimate by Ukraine, the Western countries and the United Nations.