Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that the U.S. and Western allies blocked Moscow’s move to negotiate with Ukraine in the early months of the war.
Lavrov made the claim during a meeting with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, his counterpart. The meeting was held in a bid to strengthen Russia’s ties with South Africa, Africa’s most developed country and an ally of Moscow.
🔴Russia's 🇷🇺 Foreign Minister Arrives In South Africa 🇿🇦 🔴
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in South Africa. The Russian ambassador is expected to visit numerous African countries.
📸 – @EmbassyofRussia pic.twitter.com/h19WIhFlJ1
— The Insight Factor (@insightfactor) January 23, 2023
“It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict,” Lavrov said in his statement.
Lavrov’s statement on his visit to South Africa was similar to that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin made similar claims when he said that Russia was interested in peace talks, but Ukraine’s Western allies interfered.
The Ukrainian war, which is negatively affecting Africa’s growing population, has led to an increase in fuel and food prices in the region.
Ukraine and the West have asked Russia to withdraw its troops from its neighbor completely as a negotiation precondition. This request has fallen on deaf ears.
Lavrov’s statement may have been influenced by the White House’s commitment to send new tanks to Ukraine. Biden’s administration is considering sending M1 Abrams tanks to equip the Ukrainian armed forces. This delivery would be made public alongside German-made Leopard 2 tanks pledged by Poland and Germany.
While awaiting an official announcement later this week, Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, declined several questions on the report, claiming he had nothing to announce. Ryder, however, remarked that the medium and long-term defense of Ukraine interests the U.S. and the Pentagon is open to all options.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rejected claims that the U.S. was considering sending tanks to Ukraine to nudge Germany to send Leopards. He added that Washington’s military intervention is solely based on providing credible compact capability rather than diplomatic ploys. Likewise, the UK has also pledged to provide Ukraine with 14 Challenger 2 tanks.