U.S., NATO directly involved in Ukraine conflict: Russian Foreign Minister

Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov. File.
| Photograph Credit score: AP

Russia’s international minister accused the West on December 1 of changing into immediately concerned in the conflict in Ukraine by supplying the nation with weapons and coaching its troopers.

Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov additionally stated that Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities and different key infrastructure have been supposed to weaken Ukraine’s navy potential and derail the shipments of Western weapons.

“You should not say that the U.S. and NATO aren’t collaborating on this struggle. You’re immediately collaborating in it,” Mr. Lavrov stated in a video name with reporters. “And never simply by offering weapons but additionally by coaching personnel. You’re coaching their navy in your territory, on the territories of Britain, Germany, Italy and different international locations.”

He stated the barrages of missiles, drones and artillery fireplace which have left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians with out energy, heating and water was supposed to “knock out vitality services that assist you to maintain pumping lethal weapons into Ukraine with a purpose to kill the Russians.”

“The infrastructure that’s focused by these assaults is used to make sure the fight potential of the Ukrainian armed forces and the nationalist battalions,” Lavrov stated.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of focusing on key civilian infrastructure with a purpose to scale back morale, trigger Ukraine’s folks to undergo in the course of the winter and to pressure the federal government in Kyiv into peace talks on Moscow’s phrases.

The southern city of Kherson, which Russia’s forces seized within the opening days of the battle and withdrew from final month, is among the many locations focused. Russian shelling on Thursday minimize off energy within the not too long ago liberated metropolis simply days after it was restored.

Weeks earlier than the pullback allowed Ukrainian forces to reclaim Kherson, Russia declared your entire Kherson area a part of its territory together with three different areas following swiftly referred to as “referendums” that Ukraine and the West rejected as shams.

Requested how the strikes on infrastructure in Kherson and different areas adjust to Moscow’s said purpose of defending Ukraine’s Russian-speaking inhabitants, Lavrov responded by drawing parallels with the Battle of Stalingrad throughout World Conflict II.

“The town of Stalingrad additionally was a part of our territory, and we beat the Germans to make them flee,” he stated.

Mr. Lavrov insisted that Moscow stays open for talks on ending the battle. “We by no means requested for talks however all the time stated that we’re able to take heed to those that are desirous about a negotiated settlement,” he stated.

The Kremlin has urged Ukraine to acknowledge Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as a part of Russia and to acknowledge different land good points that Russia has made since sending its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. It additionally has pushed for ensures that Ukraine would not be part of NATO, together with vaguely formulated “demilitarization” and “denazification” objectives.

Requested if a gathering between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden was doable, Mr. Lavrov replied that “we don’t shun contacts” however added that “we haven’t but heard any critical concepts but.”

Mr. Lavrov stated U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised the problem of U.S. residents imprisoned in Russia in a telephone name, however he famous that Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden agreed to arrange a separate channel of communication between particular providers to debate the problem once they met in Geneva in June 2021.

“It’s working, and I hope that some outcomes will probably be achieved,” he stated.

The Biden administration has tried for months to barter the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and one other American jailed in Russia, Michigan company safety govt Paul Whelan, together with by a doable prisoner swap with Moscow.

Commenting on Russia’s resolution to postpone a spherical of nuclear arms management talks with the USA that was scheduled for this week, Mr. Lavrov maintained “it’s not possible to debate strategic stability these days whereas ignoring every thing that’s occurring in Ukraine.”

“The purpose has been introduced to defeat Russia on the battlefield and even destroy Russia,” he stated. “How can the purpose of defeating Russia not bear significance for strategic stability, contemplating that they wish to destroy a key strategic stability actor?”

In the course of the on-line information convention that lasted for 2½ hours, Mr. Lavrov railed towards the U.S. and its NATO allies, accusing them of trampling on worldwide regulation whereas making an attempt to isolate and destroy Russia.

He claimed the U.S. has tried to discourage different international locations, together with India, from sustaining shut ties with Russia however stated these makes an attempt have failed.

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