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September 23, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news


September 23, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds a press conference during the United Nations General Assembly on September 23 in New York City.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds a press conference during the United Nations General Assembly on September 23 in New York City. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Ukraine’s blueprint for peace is not “feasible” or “realistic,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday in a news conference at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Lavrov said everyone understands that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace formula — which he has said cannot include ceding any territory to Russia — is not feasible.

But “at the same time, everyone says this is only conditions for negotiation,” Lavrov said.

The foreign minister was asked if Moscow would hold talks with the Ukrainian government if Zelensky withdrew his decree preventing negotiations with Russia. He responded by saying that’s not what Ukraine is doing, saying Zelensky is instead “going throughout the world asking for money” and weapons and attention.

More on Ukraine’s peace plan: Zelensky presented Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula to world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last year.

The steps include a path to nuclear safety and food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a final peace treaty with Moscow.

Zelensky — who initially proposed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early days of Moscow’s invasion — has expressed concerns about negotiating with Russia, pointing to its past record of reneging on agreements.

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Lashing out at the West: In an earlier speech at the UNGA Saturday, Lavrov also slammed the US, European Union and NATO military alliance for their support of Ukraine, calling the West an “empire of lies.”

The foreign minister said governments supporting Ukraine were part of an effort to “divide the world into democracies and autocracies and dictate only their own neocolonial rules to everyone.”

Moscow has justified its invasion of Ukraine, which it usually refers to as a “special military operation,” by framing it as a campaign of “denazification” — a description dismissed by historians and political observers — and as a struggle against Western powers who want to destroy Russia.

More on the summit: The two-week UNGA summit has brought together 140 heads of state and government, and featured addresses from US President Joe Biden and Ukraine’sZelensky.

Putin, who now risks arrest when he travels, is not expected to attend any portion of the gathering.

Russia remains a member of the UN Security Council, despite multiple demands from the council to end the war in Ukraine. Zelensky called this week for the Security Council to remove Russia’s veto power, arguing “this will be the first necessary step.”

News Portal Space’s Caitlin Hu contributed to this report.

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