Turkish Press: Russia’s Lavrov says Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy ‘lacks will to peace’

 Yeni Şafak 
TurkeyDec 28 2023
Russia's Lavrov says Ukraine's President Zelenskyy 'lacks will to peace'

Russian foreign minister voices concern over Armenia's increasing cooperation with NATO

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lacks "will to peace."

Speaking in an interview with Russian state news agency TASS, Lavrov pointed out that the Ukrainian authorities speak only about war and use aggressive rhetoric.

"Any cease-fire is out of the question (for the Ukrainian authorities). The ban on negotiations with the Russian leadership, established by Zelenskyy on Sept. 30, 2022, continues to be in effect. Draw your own conclusions," he said.

Lavrov admitted that recent events in the Middle East shifted the focus from Ukraine, however, "inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia" continues to be one of the West's top priorities.

"The so-called Ramstein format continues to function, in which representatives of more than 50 countries discuss Kyiv's requests for military equipment and ammunition on a monthly basis," he said, referring to meetings at the US airbase in Germany.

"Neither Washington nor Brussels refuses to provide assistance to the Kyiv regime, realizing that without it, it is doomed. They are still vitally interested in holding back Russia with the hands and bodies of Ukrainians."

The West has provided unprecedented humanitarian, economic and military support to Ukraine, where Russia launched a "special military operation" in February 2022. The backing, however, is said to be waning amid internal political disputes and fiscal challenges.

Turning to the issue of arms control, the minister blamed the US for destroying its pillars, saying Washington either directly violated the agreements by withdrawing from them or created conditions that made their implementation impossible.

"Washington's logic is simple. The pillars that ensured the US dominance are slipping away from under their feet. Largely because of the mistakes of the Americans themselves. … In an attempt to slow down the loss of the hegemon's position, they relied on force. Hence the pursuit of military superiority, … the refusal from restrictions in arms control," he said.

– Russia concerned over Armenia's turn to NATO

Lavrov regretted Armenia's turn to the West, saying Yerevan is "trading a time-tested alliance with Moscow for the West's vague promises."

"To justify the course of a strategic U-turn, they (Armenian authorities) blame Russia for all the troubles of the republic, including the loss of Karabakh," he emphasized.

Azerbaijan established full control over the region after launching an anti-terror operation this September.

Russian authorities persist in considering Armenia as a strategic partner, steadfast in their belief that, with political will, any challenges can be surmounted, Lavrov said.

"Trade and economic ties and industry dialogue are developing at an impressive pace between Moscow and Yerevan. This is the foundation for the relations between the two countries, as well as the most important support for the stability of the Armenian economy and the well-being of the Armenian population.

"The rapid growth of the republic's GDP in recent years is largely due to cooperation with Russia and Yerevan's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union," he added.

According to Lavrov, the optimal path for Armenia to navigate the current challenges lies in the implementation of the trilateral agreements with Azerbaijan and Russia.

The minister criticized talks questioning the necessity of the presence of the Russian military base in the Armenian city of Gyumry, stressing that for many years the Russian military has been ensuring peace and stability in the region.

He also voiced concern over Yerevan's increasing military cooperation with NATO.

"This year, Armenia has participated in several dozen events with the alliance. It continues to modernize its armed forces according to NATO standards, and the republic's military is being trained in a number of states of the North Atlantic Bloc," he said.

The minister warned that "the true goal of NATO is to strengthen their positions in the region, create conditions for manipulation according to the 'divide and rule' scheme."

"I hope Yerevan is aware that deepening cooperation with the alliance leads to the loss of sovereignty in the field of national defense and security," he said.