Give up your territory before it is too late, Russian tells Ukraine

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged Ukraine to give up its territories for it to know peace. The vocal ally of Putin said failure by Ukraine to forgo the four annexed regions would result in a more severe military onslaught. 

“The enemy is well aware of our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the regime-controlled territories and the elimination of threats to Russian security from there, including our new territories (Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts regions),” Lavrov said.

As usual, Lavrov accused Ukraine of Nazism, which has remained Russia’s only justification for invading Ukraine and insisted that a victory for Russia in the four regions amounted to the denazification of the territories and liberation for them. 

Recall that on September 30th, the Russian government announced that Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporhzhia had become parts of Russia and would remain as such for all eternity. Since then, the Kremlin has struggled to gain complete control over the regions and even withdrew its forces from some parts of the annexed territories.

Mr Sergei Lavrov stated that Ukraine must take the action as soon as possible if it doesn’t want the Russian military to take matters into its hand.

“The point is simple: Fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army,” Lavrov insisted while stressing that the US government could end the conflict if it wanted to.

Although the war is between Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin has rightly included the name of the United States among the warring nations because it is the biggest supplier of arms and provider of aid to Ukraine. In fact, Putin and his men had said the war would not have started in the first place if not for the United States. 

During Zelenskyy’s visit to the United States last week, the Biden administration pledged a $1.85 billion package of security assistance to Ukraine, a move that angered Russia. Even President Putin has accused the United States and its allies of frustrating the negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin ready to negotiate, but the west aren’t 

In an interview with Russian state television, TASS, President Putin said he was ready to “negotiate with everyone involved in this process about acceptable solutions.” He insisted that the war was in the best interest of Russia that it was the government’s way of protecting the citizens and the country and that the other side was the reason the war had lingered for so long. 

“It’s up to them. It’s not us who is refusing to negotiate. It’s them,” Putin said while blaming the United States and Ukraine.

The United States has described Putin’s accusation as insincere and an attempt not to take responsibility for the war he began. Kyiv also accused the dreaded leader of trying to buy time to regroup the military as the Kremlin appears to be in a tight corner. 

Nuclear warfare depends on the West

During Lavrov’s interview with TASS, he said the war could take a nuclear dimension depending on the action of the West. He, therefore, urged the United States and its allies to tread carefully to reduce the possibility of a nuclear war.

“We continue to call on the West to exercise maximum restraint in this extremely sensitive area. To minimize nuclear risks, it is important in practice to remain committed to the postulate of the inadmissibility of nuclear war, confirmed by the countries of the nuclear ‘five’ in a joint statement dated January 3, 2022,” Lavrov told TASS.

“In accordance with the logic set out in the document, any military confrontation between the nuclear powers must be prevented, as it is fraught with catastrophe,” he added.

Lavrov insisted that Russia is interested in peace, but it must be based on the “principles of equality, indivisible security” and mutual considerations of all the countries. Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of blocking peace talks and being unserious with the proposed negotiations. While Russia has its template for peace, Ukraine also has its own. What both sides have refused to do is to compromise.

Zelensky’s peace formula

While Putin and his men have outlined what they wanted to end the war, President Zelenskyy, on the other hand, said he has his formula for peace. The Ukrainian leader, in a tweet, urged Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, to help implement his peace formula.

“I had a phone call with [Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi and wished a successful G20 presidency. It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula, and now I count on India’s participation in its implementation,” Zelensky wrote.

Neither Putin’s peace plan nor Zelensky’s peace formula seems to be making sense to each other. The United States and its allies also seem to be fueling the war rather than providing a solution. It is difficult to believe that the end of the war is near based on the actions of the warring nations and their supporters.

A tiring war without an end in sight

From all indications, Ukraine and Russia are beginning to find the war uninteresting and are looking for the easiest route out of it. The continuous and subtle calls for negotiations cannot be ignored, especially as both sides are incurring significant losses. However, both sides are unwilling to compromise to end the bloodshed.

Definitely, the war is crossing into 2023, and in February, it will be one year since it started. Some have argued that the only factors keeping the war are the egos of the two leaders, who might feel that a compromise is a sign of weakness.

A compromise to save lives is often better than being right, and unless one or the two leaders agree to be the weaker one, more and more people will die, and one side will still make the compromises anyway.


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