Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that NATO’s responses to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s calls to close airspace and fight have cooled his fervour.
“We remember how President Zelensky spoke a few weeks ago about the need for NATO to close the sky, start fighting for Ukraine, recruit mercenaries and send them to the front,” the foreign minister told RBC television channel.
He warned that the reaction of the Ukrainian president at that time was “quite aggressive”. However, he clarified that his call did not have the expected effect in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization where, he added, “sensible people who were able to cool the ardor of the Ukrainian president continue to work.”
In another part of his remarks, Lavrov stressed that there are possibilities to reach peace and achieve a settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
According to the minister, in the process of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, specific definitions were drawn up that are about to be approved.
“The neutral status of Ukraine is being seriously discussed along with security guarantees,” he said, recalling that these issues are part of the conditions set by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Any option is possible, any acceptable security guarantee for Ukraine and for all other countries including Russia, except for NATO expansion. This is exactly what is being talked about in the negotiations,” she warned.
Lavrov expressed his hope that the constructive attitude shown at the recent meetings by the representatives of kyiv will allow reaching a concrete agreement on the issue of Ukraine’s neutral status.
Russia began a military operation in Ukraine on February 24, after the authorities of the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested help to repel the increase in aggression from kyiv.
Previously, Moscow recognized the independence and sovereignty of both territories and signed treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders, which included the establishment of diplomatic relations and military aid.
Putin, in a speech to inform about the start of the special military operation, stated that the objective is to protect the population of Donbass from the abuses and genocide of kyiv during the last eight years, in addition to “demilitarizing” and “denazifying” Ukraine.