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Switzerland conference on Ukraine aims to issue ultimatum to Russia — Lavrov

Sergey Lavrov stressed that "the conference has long been the talk of all those who are trying to defeat Russia on the battlefield"

MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. The upcoming Swiss conference on Ukraine in June is all about issuing an ultimatum to Russia, candidate for the post of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Federation Council, where consultations of the specialized committee on his reappointment to the post are taking place.

"The conference has long been the talk of all those who are trying to defeat Russia on the battlefield while keeping to diplomatic methods, in their words. But these diplomatic methods as well as the conference in Switzerland are no exception, but rather a continuation of the Copenhagen process. They boil down to formulating an ultimatum to Russia," Lavrov said.

He drew attention to the fact that Swiss Foreign Minister Inazio Cassis had asked for a meeting on the sidelines of the UN Security Council meeting on Palestine as early as January in New York. "And [Cassis] told me that they were planning such a conference, and that we should not worry that we would not be invited there, because they would first discuss this issue with each other, and then they would call us," Lavrov continued. "We are like a bad student - the teachers get together, they put us out, they decide everything among themselves, then they call us in and announce the verdict. You cannot talk to anyone like that, especially us. I explained all this to him frankly. He said the other day: 'We are gathering, and I confirm that it is pointless to discuss anything without Russia.' If it is pointless, why are you gathering?"

"[Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky has already said what the Swiss told me in private - that we should first form a coalition and consolidate this formula, and then present it to Russia. So, it is not about negotiations. Even if they invited us now, even if they invited us right away, we are still invited to discuss Zelensky's ['peace'] formula only," Lavrov noted. The candidate also pointed to the Chinese, South African, Brazilian, and Arab League initiatives on the Ukrainian settlement. "China proposed the most comprehensive [initiative], aimed at looking at the root causes and working to eliminate them. The others focus on humanitarian aspects, exchange of prisoners, bodies, access of humanitarian organizations," he said. But [EU Foreign policy chief Josep] Borrell said that we are preparing for a conference in Geneva, this event will be dedicated to Zelensky's 'formula.' Therefore, all the other initiatives have disappeared, and he once again decided everything for all the parties concerned himself," Lavrov added.