July 13, 2024

Speaking at the U.N. on Sept. 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that Moscow was open to negotiations with Ukraine but not a ceasefire.

According to Russian state media TASS, Lavrov also criticized Ukraine’s peace plan, claiming it was impossible to implement.

President Volodymyr Zelensky presented the 10-point peace formula, supported by many Western allies, in November 2022. It includes the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, and the release of all prisoners of war and deportees.

During his U.N. speech, Lavrov also spoke about the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which Russia pulled out of in mid-July.

Brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, the grain deal was originally meant to guarantee the safe passage of ships transporting Ukraine’s agricultural exports from the Black Sea during the invasion.

Russia withdrew from the grain deal in mid-July after repeated threats to do so and has since been targeting Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure, ports, and grain stockpiles.

Lavrov questioned the integrity of the grain deal during his U.N. speech, claiming that only 3% of grain reached the poorest countries in Africa. He also said the deal can resume once Russia’s demands regarding its agricultural exports are fulfilled.

Russia has repeatedly abused its position at the United Nations while attempting to justify its war in Ukraine.

Lavrov told the U.N. General Assembly that Russia had “no choice” but to invade Ukraine, U.N. News reported in September 2022.

“I am convinced that any sovereign, self-respecting state would do the same in our stead, which understands its responsibility to its own people,” Lavrov said, denying Ukrainian sovereignty.

Russia was also chosen to head the U.N. Security Council in April, the presidency of which rotates on a monthly basis between 15 member states.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in late March called the move a “bad joke” and said that the world “can’t be a safe place” with Russia as head of the U.N. Security Council.

Read also: Ukraine war latest: Ukraine strikes Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters; Abrams to arrive next week

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