Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is blaming the prolongation of the Russian-Ukraine war on the West. Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow was willing to negotiate with Ukraine earlier on in the war, but the United States and other nations got in the way.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 24, 2023
According to Lavrov, the U.S. and other Western nations advised the Ukrainian government not to cooperate with negotiation attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict,” Lavrov stated.
Lavrov added that American, British and European leaders told the Ukrainian government that “it is too early to deal” at the time. The arrangement to settle fell apart, even though it was almost ripe, and since then, there has been no attempt from Kyiv to go back to the negotiation table.
This would not be the first time this claim would be made as Putin also said last year that Moscow was open to talks, but that did not happen, thanks to Ukraine’s Western friends.
Moscow, on its own part, has rejected any proposal based on its complete withdrawal from Ukraine. President Joe Biden, on the other hand, has expressed willingness to talk with Putin if he proves that he really wants to end the invasion.
Lavrov made his assertions as he was in Pretoria, South Africa, for meetings with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor. The South African visit is a step forward in Russia’s plans to strengthen ties with the country known as the most developed in Africa.
While the West and several other countries took sides in the war, South Africa stood tall among African nations who remained neutral and refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That did not go unnoticed by Moscow, which is in the middle of gathering support in Africa, as it criticized Western leaders for sending weapons to Kyiv.
Lavrov’s meeting with Pandor is one of many visits as the minister plans to visit other African countries after leaving South Africa. As indicated by Pandor, the meeting will focus on the Ukraine invasion and its impact on rising oil and food prices, as well as other effects it has on Africans.
According to AP News, Pandor spoke about the negative impact conflict has on the world — especially on African nations. “This is why as South Africa, we consistently articulate that we will always stand ready to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the continent and throughout the globe,” he stated.