Russia’s foreign minister claims Ukraine’s special operation ‘will take place as ceasefire talks fail

This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine “going to plan” when he met with his Ukrainian counterpart for negotiations in Turkey.

Sir. Lavrov, President Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Minister since 2004, repeated allegations that the United States has developed biological weapons and accused the West of “acting dangerously” by supplying weapons to Ukraine in “violation of all its principles and its values”.

“We did not attack Ukraine,” Mr Lavrov claimed at a televised press conference on Thursday, adding that Russia was under attack and that it was necessary to defend the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian relief workers carry a wounded pregnant woman from a maternity hospital injured by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine (Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka / AP)

He also claimed that civilians were being used as “human shields” by “nationalists” in Ukraine.

“Like the commander-in-chief, the president has on several occasions emphasized that the operation is going according to plan,” Mr Lavrov was later quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

His comments came after he met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Antalya, Turkey, for talks on Thursday to discuss humanitarian corridors to allow people to escape besieged cities and a ceasefire.

However, Kuleba said the meeting did not provide a breakthrough in ending the war in Ukraine.

“I made a simple proposal to Minister Lavrov: I can call my Ukrainian ministers, authorities, president now and give you 100 percent guarantees on security guarantees for humanitarian corridors,” Kuleba said at a press conference.

“I asked him ‘can you do the same?’ and he did not answer. “

He said Moscow was not ready to offer a ceasefire, adding: “They are seeking Ukraine’s surrender. This is not going to happen.”

More about Russia-Ukraine war

Lavrov replied that there had been no discussion of a ceasefire and that the negotiations in Turkey could not be an alternative to the “right, diplomatic main track”, referring to lower-level meetings in Belarus, an ally of Moscow.

“I am not surprised that Mr Kuleba said that it was not possible to agree on a ceasefire. Here, no one intended to enter into a ceasefire,” he said.

Lavrov dismissed concerns about civilian casualties as “pathetic screams” from Russia’s enemies, claiming that Mariupol hospital that had been shelled on Wednesday had been seized by extreme right-wing radical fighters who used it as a base – despite photographs from the aftermath showing pregnant women and children at the scene.

He said Mr Putin could meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but only after further negotiations on Russia’s broader complaints.

Additional reporting from agencies

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