Russia FM: Moscow won’t halt military operation in Ukraine for peace talks
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has no plans to pause the military operation in Ukraine for subsequent rounds of peace talks.
Speaking in an interview with Russian state television on Monday, Lavrov said he saw no reason not to continue the talks with Ukraine but insisted that Moscow would not stop the campaign when the sides reconvened for peace negotiations.
Lavrov said President Vladimir Putin had ordered to suspend the military action during the first round of talks in late February but Moscow's position had has changed since. “After we became convinced that the Ukrainians were not planning to reciprocate, a decision was made that during the next rounds of talks, there would be no pause in military action so long as a final agreement is not reached.”
Last week, Lavrov accused Kiev of presenting Moscow with an "unacceptable" draft peace deal that deviated from agreements the sides had previously reached.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met in Istanbul last month, but there have been few signs of the conflict abating on the ground.
The Russian leader announced the military operation in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow's list of demands.