There is a belief in Moscow that Washington, London and other Western capitals – not Kiev – are the real decision-makers when it comes to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Monday. He said that Kiev’s negotiators backtracked on the tentative understanding reached last month in Istanbul on advice from the US and the UK.
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators met face-to-face in Turkey at the end of March. Russia then took Ukraine’s outline, put it together in a “contractual” format and sent it to Kiev, only to get back “radically different” ideas in what was a “huge step back,” Lavrov said in the interview with the ‘Great Game,’ a political show on Russia’s Channel One.
“We know for sure that neither the US nor the UK – which is trying in every possible way to compensate for its current lonely status after leaving the EU – advised [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky to speed up the negotiations, but to harden his position each time,” Lavrov said. The backtracking after Istanbul, he added, “was taken on the advice of our American or British colleagues. Maybe the Poles and the Balts played some role here.”
Meanwhile, Western leaders – such as the British PM Boris Johnson and EU foreign minister Josep Borrell – make statements to the effect that Russia “must be defeated” and that the conflict needs to be resolved “on the field of battle,” while sending weapons to Kiev, Lavrov pointed out.