Russia Ready to Talk if Ukraine Army Lays Down Arms, Says Official
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by news agency AFP as saying that Russia is willing to negotiate to Ukraine if it ‘lays down weaponry.’ Lavrov stated that Moscow did not want ‘neo-Nazis’ to rule Ukraine, and that all Moscow desired was for the Ukrainian people to be independent and free to determine their own fate.
The Russian minister also accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of lying when he indicated he was willing to talk about the former Soviet republic’s neutral status. In remarks that emphasize the acrimonious and aggressive nature of Russia’s attack, Lavrov stated that the current Ukrainian government has no chance of being recognized as democratic.
Meanwhile, Russia has assured India that it expects to be backed up in its plan to invade Ukraine when a UN Security Council resolution denouncing the move is put to a vote this evening.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone yesterday night, pleading for an end to the bloodshed. India has not expressly condemned Russia’s conduct, but has called for an immediate de-escalation of tensions on both sides at UNSC meetings. The US delivered a warning to India before of the vote, calling for a ‘collective response’ to what it called a violation of the ‘rules-based international order.’
Late Wednesday and early Thursday, Russia invaded Ukraine in an internationally condemned move after President Vladimir Putin declared war in the largest attack on a European nation since World War II. On the first day of conflict, at least 137 people were killed, including civilians, with both Russia and Ukraine claiming to have destroyed the military capabilities of the other. Hundreds more people are expected to die today.
Russian ground forces, including tanks, are moving in on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv from the north and northeast, according to sources.
Russian soldiers have pounded Ukraine’s defenses with massive land and air attacks, and have taken control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear reactor, which was the site of a horrible meltdown in 1986.
Before morning, explosions and gunfire erupted over Kyiv.
The military of Ukraine has also reported the presence of Russian agents on the outskirts of the capital, with local police keeping residents in an underground metro station due to gunshots outside at one point.
President Zelenskiy of Ukraine has made several emotional calls to the international community – whose response is regarded as being led by the US – to intervene and assist his country.
After breaking diplomatic ties with Moscow, he stated, “If you don’t help us now… if you don’t send a powerful assistance to Ukraine, tomorrow the conflict will knock on your door.”
In a desperate attempt, Zelenskiy has declared martial law and ordered the complete military mobilization of his country’s forces, as well as urging residents to take up guns against Russian soldiers. The Ukrainian defense ministry has posted instructional videos on how to make Molotov cocktails on Twitter.
Multiple sanctions have been imposed by the US and other western countries in response to Russia’s actions, but they appear to have had little effect thus far; US President Joe Biden has recognized that they are unlikely to succeed.
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