Sunday, May 19, 2024

Russia ready If West wants to fight for Ukraine: Top diplomat

If Western countries want to solve the Ukrainian conflict on the battlefield, Moscow is ready for it, acting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed.

“This is their [Western countries’] right, if they want to [settle the conflict] on the battlefield, it will be on the battlefield,” Lavrov said during consultations at the parliament’s upper house on Monday.

Moscow has repeatedly announced that it is ready for negotiations to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, but taking into account the current reality, Lavrov added.

Speaking about the conference on Ukraine in Switzerland planned for June, with Russia was not invited, Lavrov likened the situation to “giving a schoolboy a reprimand”.

“The conference… boils down to formulating an ultimatum to Russia once again.”

Switzerland will host the high-level conference on Ukrainian crisis at an alpine resort in Nidwalden canton outside of Lucerne from June 15-16. Switzerland noted that it had invited over 160 delegations from around the world to attend the event. Russia was not included on the guest list.

The remarks came as Ukraine’s military chief has admitted his forces are facing a “difficult situation” in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, where thousands more people have fled their homes as Russian forces continue to advance.

At least 4,000 civilians have fled the Kharkiv region since Friday when Moscow’s forces launched the operation, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said in a social media statement. Heavy fighting raged Sunday along the northeast front line, where Russian troops attacked 27 settlements in 24 hours, he added.

The Russian Ministry of Defence reported Sunday that its forces had captured four villages on the border in addition to five villages reported to have been seized on Saturday. These areas were likely poorly fortified due to the dynamic fighting and constant heavy shelling, easing the Russian advance.

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