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Russia not to go for settlement on Ukraine based on 'Zelensky formula' — Lavrov

The top Russian diplomat referred to a swindling trick used by a thimblerigger who puts a small round object, such as a ball or pea, under one of three thimbles or cups and asks the player to guess under which the object is, while unfairly manipulating this object
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Sergey Karpukhin/TASS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
© Sergey Karpukhin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. Russia sees no need to resolve the Ukraine crisis on the basis of the slightly edited so-called ‘Zelensky formula,’ which is being promoted by the West, as this is thimblerigging and a scam, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Sputnik, Govorit Moskva (Moscow Speaking) and Komsomolskaya Pravda radio stations.

"We attended a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Palestine in New York [in January]. I have known him (Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis - TASS) for a very long time, he used to be president," Lavrov said. "Ignazio Cassis also went to the [UNSC] meeting and asked for a one-on-one meeting. We did not make the meeting secret as we were photographed and then the delegations left us."

"He told me (and that was right after Davos where on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, they held another Copenhagen-format meeting [on Ukraine] requested by the Ukrainians), ‘Did you see how I was speaking to the press after the meeting?’ the minister asked. I said, 'How?' 'I stated that as a result of that regular meeting on the Ukrainian 'peace formula,' we came to the conclusion that it is meaningless without Russia'."

"I said: ‘Did you have to hold another meeting so as to come to this conclusion? If you are an experienced person, if you understand this, why on earth did you hold that gathering in Davos?" the Russian foreign minister relayed the dialogue with his Swiss counterpart.

"No, but I want to simply enter that process smoothly in order to rectify it from within. And we want to organize a conference that will consist of two parts. We probably won’t be able to invite you to the first part, but we will to the second," Lavrov said citing Cassis.

Three points for Zelensky and the West

Lavrov pointed out that when he asked the top Swiss diplomat what they would do during the first part of the conference, "He said, ‘We will finalize ‘the Zelensky formula’ as it has lots of things which developing countries are interested in.’ I told him honestly that there are three things that Zelensky and the West need, namely Russia’s capitulation and retreat to the 1991 borders, the trial for the Russian leadership, the tribunal and reparations to the full extent. Furthermore, they also wrote somewhere between the lines: ‘to impose on Russia a commitment on limitation of the arms which might be in the 200-km-wide frontline zone," the Russian foreign minister said.

"And everything else - food, energy security, nuclear security, humanitarian cooperation, prisoner exchange, and the search for missing persons - is nothing else but vignettes that serve as a frame for the content of this ultimatum for the purpose of enticing the countries from the world’s majority," Lavrov stated.

"After all, they are being enticed like that, 'We are aware that you do not want to quarrel with Russia, you do not want any reparations, and you do not want to put Russia on trial. Well, take food security, supervise food security or energy security'," the minister outlined the situation.

Top-notch thimbleriggers

"They are merely top-notch thimbleriggers. Perhaps, they are top-notch but only in those positions they hold in their countries, in their governments, but in fact, they are crooks. And it is impossible not to realize that they are offering fraudulent schemes," Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister referred to a swindling trick used by a thimblerigger who puts a small round object, such as a ball or pea, under one of three thimbles or cups and asks the player to guess under which the object is, while unfairly manipulating this object, so the player has no chance of winning.

"Therefore, they are doing it knowingly. And those countries out of our partners, including some BRICS nations that attended the previous events, we do know this firmly, emphasized the need to talk to Russia at each of them. We are grateful to them for sending such a message. However, if, as the West wants now, it means fine-tuning and polishing this ‘Zelensky formula’ - as the West is good at doing so - by adding meaningless expressions that beautifully claim that ‘security interests must be taken into account equally’, the essence will remain the same. This is not the way to go," the Russian foreign minister concluded.