MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky missed his opportunities by refusing to agree with Russia when it put forward proposals on ensuring security in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Friday.
Russia’s top diplomat made this statement following the talks with Foreign Minister of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Vladislav Deinego and First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Sergey Peresada.
"We offered various options for ensuring security. President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin spoke about that at a press conference following the results of the negotiations with President [of France Emmanuel] Macron. He pointed it out clearly: NATO’s expansion is unacceptable but we want to look for such options through joint negotiations, joint efforts for ensuring security that will guarantee corresponding conditions, corresponding possibilities and requirements for Ukraine, for European countries and, of course, for the Russian Federation. That is why, President Zelensky’s missed opportunities are well known and there must be no shifting the blame now," Lavrov stressed.
There was no shortage of opportunities provided to Zelensky, the Russian foreign minister stressed. In particular, in December last year, Russia put forward proposals on security guarantees that were "aimed precisely at looking for guarantees outside the framework of the expansion of military-political blocs, primarily, NATO."
"And he was well aware of that. The sole condition was to fulfill the provisions of those accords that were signed at the highest level within the OSCE framework so that no one would try to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. He did not want to fulfill this commitment similarly to how his Western patrons were unwilling to honor their commitment formulated in this phrase, these words. And all of them kept harping on that the alliance’s free choice as a means of ensuring Ukraine’s security was sacrosanct," the foreign minister explained.
Ukrainian President Zelensky called on Moscow early on Friday morning to begin talks with Kiev as soon as possible to minimize combat losses. He earlier stated that he was not afraid of discussing the issue of Ukraine’s neutral status and security guarantees with Russia. The Ukrainian president also said that Ukraine’s Western partners were not giving it security guarantees and were reluctant to admit it to NATO.
Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
When clarifying the unfolding developments, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.