The Russian foreign minister underscored that the first step for talks between Russia and Ukraine should be the cancellation of Vladimir Zelensky’s decree banning dialogue with Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the longer Kiev delays negotiations with Moscow, the more difficult it will be to reach an agreement later.
“President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that we are not walking away from negotiations, but those [in Ukraine] who dodge talks should understand that the longer they procrastinate, the more difficult it will be to reach an agreement later,” Lavrov said on the Rossiya-1 TV channel. “This is our official position. I will say once again, against the background of the ban on the negotiations, which was signed by [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, this position should not raise any questions.”
He added that the first step for talks between Russia and Ukraine should be the cancellation of Zelensky’s decree banning dialogue with Moscow. When asked to comment on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that if Russian-Ukrainian talks begin, the US will be drawn to them, the top diplomat said that he had read the statement.
“I read the statement. Strange, indeed,” Lavrov noted. “At least a year ago, or even earlier, I can’t remember, Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting any negotiations with the government of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin. The whole world knows about it. And if those who run this regime have decided that Ukrainians should be ready to negotiate, then perhaps the first step should be a wish or an order to cancel this decree, which, I repeat, prohibits negotiations,” he said on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).