Russia Tells Ukraine to Meet Demands, Or Else – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian state media this week that Kyiv will decide how long the war in Ukraine lasts, suggesting that Russia won’t end the conflict until its demands are met.
The comments come the same week that Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his claim that he is willing to negotiate with Ukraine, casting doubt on Russia’s willingness to compromise with Ukraine.
Speaking to the Tass news agency, Lavrov said that Kyiv can stop its “senseless resistance at any moment.”
Lavrov also said that Kyiv is aware of Russia’s demands for “demilitarization and denazification,” and that complying with those demands will bring the conflict to an end.
Lavrov said that if Ukraine refuses to meet Russia’s demands, including the protection of the four regions of Ukraine that the Kremlin claims to have “annexed” in September, then the conflict “will be decided by the Russian army.”
How Ukraine Responded
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s position is not dissimilar to what Russia has suggested.
Specifically, Kyiv has stated that Russia can bring the war to an end at any time by withdrawing its troops and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty, which would mean handing over the four territories annexed this year as well as giving up Crimea.
On Tuesday, Zelenskyy aide Mykhailo Podolyak responded to Lavrov’s comments on Twitter.
Podolyak insisted that threats from Russia will not help the situation and that even the “total mobilization” of Russian troops will bring the conflict to an end.
“Neither total mobilization, nor panicky search for ammo, nor secret contracts with Iran, nor Lavrov’s threats will help,” Podolyak said. “Russia needs to face the reality. Ukraine will demilitarize the RF to the end, oust the invaders from all occupied territories.”
Is A Summit On The Cards?
Speaking to The Associated Press on Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba suggested a summit to discuss bringing the war to an end but also predicted Russia would not be likely to take part.
Specifically, Kuleba suggested a peace summit take place sometime within the next two months, with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres serving as the mediator. There are no confirmed plans for a summit to take place any time soon, but a United Nations spokesperson responded to the suggestion positively.
“As the secretary-general has said many times in the past, he can only mediate if all parties want him to mediate,” United Nations spokeswoman Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez said.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.