Russia wants dialogue, ‘not war’, says minister on Ukrainian crisis – News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that he wants diplomacy to prevail, not war, after the United States urged Russia to “return to the negotiating table” rather than invade Ukraine.

“We chose the path of diplomacy many decades ago,” said Lavrov, in an interview broadcast by several Russian radio and television stations. “We have to work with the whole world. This is our principle”, he emphasized.

“If it depends on Russia, there will be no war. We don’t want wars. But neither will we allow our interests to be grossly outraged, ignored,” he stressed.

At least 100,000 Russian troops have been concentrated on the border with Ukraine since late 2021, according to estimates from Western countries, which fear Moscow will invade neighboring territory with a pro-Western government.

Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine, but considers itself threatened by the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) registered in the last 20 years and by the support that Western countries give to Ukraine.

The Kremlin demands that NATO stop expanding, above all, with the possible accession of Ukraine, and calls for a military retreat to the positions of 1997.

On Wednesday, the United States and the Atlantic Alliance formally rejected those demands. They opened the door, however, for the resumption of negotiations on reciprocal limits on the deployment of short- and medium-range missiles by the two nuclear powers in Europe, as well as on military exercises in the vicinity of the rival.

Russia expressed reservations about this and said it was preparing a reaction. On Friday, Lavrov said he still found “seeds of rationality” in the Western response, “in matters of secondary importance.”

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron will hold talks later today.

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