Russia says ready for talks if Ukraine 'lays down arms'

Russia says ready for talks if Ukraine ‘lays down arms’


MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday Moscow was ready for talks if Ukraine s military surrendered, as he insisted that invading forces were looking to free the country from “oppression”.

Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow that Russian President Vladimir Putin “decided to conduct a special military operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine so that Ukrainians can be freed from oppression and free to decide for themselves. own future”.

The comments suggest that Moscow intends to overthrow the Ukrainian authorities through an invasion. Lavrov said Moscow is ready for talks with Kiev if Ukrainian troops surrender.

“We are ready for negotiations at any moment, as soon as the armed forces of Ukraine respond to our call and lay down their arms,” Lavrov said.

He said the aim of Putin s operation was “openly declared: demilitarisation and de-Nazification”.

Lavrov said that “nobody intends to occupy Ukraine”.

He denied Ukrainian claims that Russian forces had hit civilian infrastructure, despite widespread evidence of residential areas being damaged.

The Ukrainian army said Friday that Russian forces were approaching Kyiv from the north and northeast.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced early Thursday that he would launch a major military operation in Ukraine.

Since then, Western countries have imposed a series of international sanctions on Russia.

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