Moscow to Kyiv: Meet Russia’s demands or we will impose them

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The United States and its NATO allies together with Ukraine want to defeat Russia “on the battlefield” in order to destroy it, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the state TASS agency in remarks published Monday.

“The actions of the countries of the collective West and (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky under their control confirm the global nature of the Ukrainian crisis,” Lavrov said.

“It is no secret to anyone that the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country.”

President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, calling it a “special operation” to “denazify” and demilitarise Ukraine, which he said was a threat to Russia. Kyiv and its Western allies say Moscow’s invasion was merely an imperialist land grab.

Lavrov reiterated that Russia and the United States cannot maintain normal connection, blaming the administration of the US President Joe Biden.

“It is objectively impossible to maintain normal communication with the Biden administration, which declares the infliction of a strategic defeat on our country as a goal,” Lavrov said.

He added that Washington’s “confrontational anti-Russian course is becoming more and more acute and comprehensive.”

The United States has provided billions of dollar in support to Ukraine, with the latest $1.85 billion aid package announced last week, further angering Moscow.

In Lavrov’s remarks published earlier by TASS, the foreign minister gave Kyiv an ultimatum to meet Moscow’s demands for settlement or the Russian army will decide the issue.

Sergei Lavrov’s comments, made late on Monday amid continued heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was open to negotiations, but only on Moscow’s terms.

These include Ukraine recognising Russia’s conquest of a fifth of its territory. Kyiv, armed and supported by the United States and its NATO allies, says it will recover all its occupied territory and drive out all Russian soldiers.—Agencies