Lavrov accuses America and the West of fueling tensions in Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Friday that the Kremlin sees the United States and its allies as the power source of the war in eastern Ukraine, a change of tone from Moscow hours after another Russian official said the Kremlin he was pleased with the phone call between the two countries’ leaders, according to the New York Times newspaper.

“The civil war in Ukraine, which has lasted for eight years, is not over yet, “Lavrov said in comments released by the RIA news agency. He added that” the Ukrainian authorities do not intend to resolve the conflict “through diplomacy.

“Unfortunately, we see the United States and other NATO countries supporting Kiev’s military intentions, supplying Ukraine with weapons and sending military specialists,” Lavrov added.

The comments came amid high-level diplomatic talks about what the United States described as a serious Russian military threat to Ukraine, with Lavrov’s comments being the latest in a series of conflicting comments from the Kremlin swinging between pessimism and conciliation.

And in early December, Putin said Moscow could resort to “military-technical” means, referring to the use of force, if the talks fail.

After Russian President Biden and President Putin spoke for 50 minutes on Thursday, both sides said it was constructive, even though the call ended without clarifying the Kremlin’s intentions after amassing some 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border.

The call was seen as an attempt by both sides to shape the diplomatic landscape in view of the Ukrainian crisis talks starting in Geneva on January 10 and moving to Brussels and Vienna later in the week, according to Russian and US officials.

Russia has asked NATO and the United States to withdraw its forces in the region and to pledge not to accept new Eastern European members into the alliance.

In the call, according to US officials, Biden made it clear that Western countries would impose harsh sanctions if Russia stepped up its military activities along the Ukrainian border. Putin warned that the imposition of new sanctions could lead to a “complete rupture” in relations between the two countries.

However, officials from both countries rated the conversation positively. “In principle, we are satisfied with the communication and the negotiations, because they are open, objective and concrete,” Ushakov told reporters during a press conference in Moscow on Friday.
On the other hand, Lavrov’s comments throughout the day revived a more confrontational tone and recreated an atmosphere of pessimism.

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