The Kremlin has a special plan: ISW explained what lies behind Lavrov's statements about the war against Ukraine and the possibility of negotiations
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that the maximalist goals of the aggressor country in Ukraine remain unchanged, and it is not genuinely interested in negotiations. The Kremlin believes that the longer the war continues, the more territory it will be able to occupy.
Moscow also believes that the course of the fighting will increasingly weaken Kyiv's negotiating position. This is how the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed the Russian minister's words at a press conference on January 18.
The day before, Lavrov claimed that Russia would "consistently and persistently" achieve the goals of its "SMO." These include the "demilitarization" and "denazification" of Ukraine, as well as the demand that NATO commit not to accept new members – goals that, in the mind of dictator Putin, are tantamount to the complete surrender of Ukraine and the West.
The Kremlin leader voiced these theses on the day of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Now the Russian minister has reiterated that they remain unchanged, stating that "serious" talks about "realistic" conditions for ending the war "imply that Ukraine abandons Nazi ideology and rhetoric, racism against everything Russian, and joins NATO."
The Russian foreign minister tried to justify these conditions as "necessary to preserve the independence and identity of the Ukrainian people," despite Russian troops and occupation authorities regularly engaging in large-scale and deliberate campaigns of ethnic cleansing and efforts to destroy the Ukrainian people, language, culture, history, and ethnicity in the temporarily occupied territories.
In addition, Lavrov denied Ukraine's role as a sovereign state, stating that it is not for Ukraine to "decide when to stop and start talking seriously" with Russia about ending the war, but rather for the West to make that decision. He responded to a question about recent media reports about the possibility of negotiations by saying that "rumors are just rumors." Lavrov reiterated that Russia is "always ready" for dialogue and blamed the West for its absence. He also threateningly stated that "those [in the West] who refuse should understand that the longer they wait, the harder it will be to negotiate" and "there is no hope that Russia will be 'defeated'."
ISW recalled that Lavrov made similar statements on December 15, 2023.
"The Kremlin believes that the longer the war lasts, the more territory Russia will be able to occupy, and the course of the war will increasingly weaken Ukraine's negotiating position," the analysts said.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed the opinion that Russian dictator Putin will continue to wage wars until the end of his life. He emphasized that negotiations with Moscow do not make sense.