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War in Ukraine, day 305 | Lavrov blames the war on Ukraine and calls for its demilitarization



(Kyiv) Russia’s foreign minister warned Ukraine again on Tuesday that it must demilitarize, threatening further military action and falsely accusing Kyiv and the West of fueling the war that began with the invasion from Moscow.

Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine must eliminate any military threat against Russia – otherwise “the Russian army [résoudra] the problem “. His comments also reflected the Kremlin’s persistent and unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine and its Western allies were responsible for the 10-month war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions.

Russia launched the war on February 24, alleging a threat to its security and a plot to bring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to its doorstep. Lavrov reiterated on Tuesday that the West is fueling the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia, and said the length of the conflict depends on Kyiv and Washington.

“As far as the duration of the conflict is concerned, the ball is on the side of the regime [de Kyiv] and Washington standing behind his back, Lavrov told state news agency Tass. They can stop the senseless resistance at any time. »

In an apparent reaction, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter that “Russia needs to face reality.”

“Neither total mobilization, nor the panicked search for ammunition, nor secret contracts with Iran, nor Mr. Lavrov’s threats will help,” he said. Ukraine will demilitarize the RF (Russian Federation) to the end, drive out invaders from all occupied territories. Wait for the final in silence…”

The day before, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had stressed in an interview with the Associated Press that his government wanted a summit to end the war, but did not plan for Russia to participate. .

Kuleba said Ukraine wanted a “peace” summit within two months with UN Secretary General António Guterres acting as mediator. But he also said Russia must face a war crimes tribunal before his country speaks directly with Moscow.

These two statements illustrate how complex and difficult any attempt to end the war could be. Ukraine has asserted in the past that it will not negotiate with Russia until its troops are fully withdrawn, while Moscow insists on its military gains and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 cannot be ignored.

On the front line

Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued on Tuesday in the Russian-claimed regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have recently been the scene of the most intense clashes.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Russian forces were trying to encircle the city of Bakhmout in the Donetsk region, but were unsuccessful. Heavy battles are also underway around the town of Kreminna in Luhansk region, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said.


Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region

In the partially occupied southern region of Kherson, Russian forces shelled Ukrainian-held areas 40 times on Monday, injuring one person, Ukrainian authorities said. The city of Kherson itself – which Ukraine recaptured last month in a major victory – has been targeted 11 times, regional administrator Yaroslav Yanushevich said.

Since its first advances at the start of the war, Russia has made few major advances, often destroying Ukrainian infrastructure instead and leaving millions of people without electricity, heating and hot water in wintry conditions.

Mr Lavrov did not specify how the Russian military will achieve its goals of demilitarizing and “denazifying” Ukraine – which was Russia’s avowed goal when the invasion began in February. The reference to “denazification” stems from Russia’s claims that the Ukrainian government is heavily influenced by radical nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. This assertion is ridiculed by Ukraine and the West.

Minister Lavrov warned that further Western support for Ukraine could lead to a direct confrontation.

“We continue to warn our adversaries in the west of the dangers on their path to aggravate the Ukrainian crisis,” he said, adding that the risk of the situation spiraling out of control remains high.

“The strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to achieve a victory over Russia on the battlefield to significantly weaken, if not destroy, our country,” he said.

Russia to ban oil sales to price-cap countries in February

Russia will ban from February 1 the sale of its oil to foreign countries that use the cap on the price of Russian black gold, set in early December at 60 dollars per barrel by the EU, the G7 and Australia.


“The delivery of Russian oil and oil products to foreign legal entities and other individuals is prohibited” if they use the price cap, says a decree signed Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The delivery of Russian oil and oil products to foreign legal entities and other individuals is prohibited” if they use the ceiling price, is it written in a decree signed Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The decree specifies that this measure is planned for a period of five months, “until July 1, 2023”.

Only “a special decision” by Vladimir Putin himself will be able to allow the delivery of Russian oil to one or more countries which have set up the price ceiling in recent weeks, it is indicated in the decree published on Tuesday.

At the beginning of December, the 27 Member States of the European Union, the G7 countries and Australia had agreed, after months of negotiations, on a cap on the price of Russian oil for export at 60 dollars. per barrel.

In fact, only oil sold by Russia at a price equal to or less than 60 dollars can continue to be delivered. Beyond this ceiling, it is forbidden for companies to provide the services allowing its maritime transport (freight, insurance, etc.).

The objective of such a measure is to deprive Moscow of significant revenues to finance its military intervention in Ukraine.

However, the price of a barrel of Russian oil (crude from the Urals) is currently fluctuating around 65 dollars, barely above the fixed ceiling, implying a limited short-term impact of this measure, according to many observers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had thus deplored “a weak position” of his Western allies at the time of his establishment.

For their part, the Russian leaders had declared on several occasions “not to accept” this mechanism which “will have no impact” on the course of the Russian offensive against its Ukrainian neighbor.

On December 9, Vladimir Putin threatened the West to “reduce production” of Russian oil “if necessary”, then castigating a “stupid decision”.

Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter and was, in 2021, the second largest supplier of black gold to European Union countries. According to European leaders, 90% of Russian oil exports to the EU will already be stopped by the end of 2022 in protest against the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

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