Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has given Ukraine an ultimatum saying that Kyiv must comply with Moscow’s demands or its army will.
The day after President Vladimir Putin said he was open to talks on Ukraine, Lavrov lashed out at Kyiv and said the West was bent on destroying his country.
Kyiv and its Western allies have rejected Putin’s offer of talks as his troops fire missiles and shells at Ukrainian cities, and Moscow continues to demand that Kyiv recognize the conquest of a fifth of the country.
The Ukrainian capital says it will fight until Russia leaves.
“Our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of regime-controlled territories, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted by the state news agency TASS as saying. saying late on Monday.
“The bottom line is simple: do them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”
Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special operation” to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine, which he says poses a threat to Russia.
Kyiv and the West say that Putin’s invasion was simply an imperialist land grab. The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia for its invasion and sent billions of dollars in aid to the Ukrainian government.
Just last week, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was visiting Washington, the United States announced another $1.85 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including the transfer of a Patriot air defense system, angering Moscow.
“It is no secret to anyone that the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country,” Lavrov further told TASS.
He reiterated that Russia and the United States cannot maintain normal communication, blaming the administration of US President Joe Biden for this.
While Moscow was planning a quick operation to capture its neighbor, the war is now in its 11th month, marked by many embarrassing Russian failures on the battlefield.
In the latest attack to find holes in Russia’s air defense system, a drone believed to be Ukrainian penetrated hundreds of kilometers through Russian airspace on Monday, setting off a deadly explosion at its main strategic bomber base.
Russian troops have been fighting bitterly for months in eastern and southern Ukraine, defending lands that Moscow declared annexed in September that make up Ukraine’s sprawling industrial region of Donbass.
Over the past day, Ukrainian forces repelled attacks by Russian troops in the area of two settlements in the Lugansk region and six in the Donetsk region, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Tuesday.
In a late-night video message on Monday, Zelensky called the situation on the front line in Donbass “difficult and painful.”
Oleg Zhdanov, a Kyiv-based military analyst, said heavy fighting was taking place around the highlands near Kremennaya in the Luhansk region.
He also said fighting had resumed along Bakhmut and Avdiivka, the line of contact further south in Donetsk region, after briefly easing in previous days.
“The arc of fire in the Donetsk region continues to burn,” Zhdanov said in a video post on the social network.
Zelenskiy said attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure left nearly nine million people without electricity. This figure is about a quarter of the population of Ukraine.
Sergei Kovalenko, head of YASNO, which supplies electricity to Kyiv, said late Monday that while the city’s electricity situation is improving, power outages will continue.
“While repair work is underway, emergency shutdowns will continue,” Kovalenko said on his Facebook page.
Moscow on Monday said it had shot down a drone believed to be Ukrainian, causing it to crash at the Engels air base, where three servicemen were killed. Ukraine did not comment, adhering to its usual policy regarding incidents inside Russia.
The alleged drone struck the same base on 5 December.
The base, the main airfield for bombers that Kyiv says Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, is hundreds of miles from the Ukrainian border. These same aircraft are also designed to launch nuclear-tipped missiles as part of Russia’s long-term strategic deterrence.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that no aircraft were hit, but Russian and Ukrainian social media reports that several aircraft were destroyed. Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.
On Monday, Putin hosted leaders of other former Soviet republics in St. Petersburg for a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States group, from which Ukraine has long withdrawn.
The invasion of Ukraine was a test of Russia’s longstanding prestige among other former Soviet republics.
In the televised address, Putin did not directly mention the war, but said that the threats to security and stability in the Eurasian region are growing.
“Unfortunately, the challenges and threats in this area, especially from outside, are only growing every year,” he said. “We must also recognize, unfortunately, that differences also arise between member states of the Commonwealth.”