Lavrov: ‘It is the best relations we have ever had with China in history, special partnership with India is developing’

Russian side expects success in the negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv

Russian-Ukrainian negotiations will resume “any day now” in Istanbul. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Serbian media that the discussion would continue in person after a series of videoconferences.

“It's for a reason that as soon as the Ukrainian side offered to start negotiations after the start of our special military operation, we agreed. These negotiations continued and are continuing now," the minister said.

According to Lavrov, the place for negotiations should be acceptable for both teams. He recalled that three rounds of face-to-face talks had previously been held in Belarus. The meeting in Istanbul reflects the geographical point in respect of which the capacities of both sides coincided. Russia will be ready to consider other locations, including Belgrade.

He noted that the Russian side expects success in the negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv. According to Lavrov, this result will achieve fundamental goals for Russia, in particular, the cessation of the killing of civilians in the Donbas, which has been lasting for eight years.

“The entire progressive Western community kept quiet, never even making any critical comments, although everyone watched how civilian infrastructures, hospitals, kindergartens, polyclinics and residential buildings were bombed in Donbas," the Russian minister of foreign affairs added.

According to Lavrov, there are chances for an agreement. Now there is the understanding of the grossest long-term mistakes of Russia's Western partners. The minister noted that they would hardly say this out loud.

“We have to make sure that people in the Donbas never suffer from the Kyiv regime again”

The Russian minister of foreign affairs also stated the need for a result based on the results of the negotiations, which will be fixed by the presidents of the states. According to Lavrov, Kiev intends to create only the appearance of discussion and decision. The main task is to stop indulging the Ukrainian side.

“They succeeded in this when they sabotaged the Minsk agreements immediately after they were signed in February 2015 and eventually declared that they would not implement them, as I have already said. Therefore, their ability to simulate the process — we know it well, and this time it will not work out this way," Lavrov said.

As soon as clarity is reached regarding the denouement on all key issues, then there will be a need for a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymir Zelensky. These issues include the fate of the Donbas, demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.

“We have to make sure that people in the Donbas never suffer from the Kyiv regime again. We have to make sure that Ukraine stops developing with the West, with the North Atlantic Alliance in military terms as threats to the Russian Federation, physical military threats," the minister said.

According to him, the Russian side has reason to believe that now the most serious concerns that directly concern the fundamental legitimate interests have been heard in NATO, they are beginning to be understood.

Lavrov added that Putin has never refused a meeting with Zelensky, but it should be well prepared. The crisis situation in Ukraine has been brewing for a long time, a huge number of problems have accumulated.

“Therefore, just meeting and exchanging: “what do you think, what do I think?" — it will just be counterproductive now," the minister explained.

“Cave Russophobia” in the West

According to Lavrov, “cave Russophobia” has woken up in a number of Western countries. And the heads of these states actively encourage and fuel it. At the same time, there are sensible leaders in the European Union who are aware of the consequences of inciting such Russophobia.

“This [Russophobia], of course, struck me, because it revealed this cave-like interior of Russophobia, which lived for a very long time, because it's impossible to awaken such feelings just like that, in one day. So, they were carefully hidden," Lavrov explained.

According to the minister, there is no isolation of Russia, the country has a huge number of partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America. Thus, the Russian state is bound by “good relations” with the vast majority of organisations that are created by developing countries.

“We have the best relations with China in the entire history of their existence, we are developing a special privileged partnership with India," Lavrov added.

The minister of foreign affairs noted that Western sanctions against Russia have never stopped. In Soviet times, there were sanctions of CoCom, the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls, when the West in every possible way restricted the supply of high-tech equipment to Russia.

“We have been living for a very long time under the Jackson-Vanik amendment," Lavrov added.

Realnoe Vremya follows the events. Read the details in a special story of the online newspaper.

Diana Zhilenkova