Today, on February 10, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his British counterpart Liz Truss in Moscow. After the conversation, the Russian minister noted that relations between Moscow and London leave much to be desired and are at their lowest point in many years.
Lavrov stressed that such a situation, when the UK and Russia are at the lowest point in the development of their relations, was not the fault of the Russian side. According to Lavrov, Russia stands for normalization of relations with the UK and their return to the course of constructive development, which is possible “only on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual respect of interests.”
“Selectivity, imposing conditions, ultimatums and threats are all the way to nowhere. Relations should be a two-way street,” Lavrov stated.
Lavrov has expressed frustration at the lack of progress made during the negotiations with Truss, as tensions between Moscow and the West continue to be flamed up over the Ukrainian issue. Lavrov said that their communication with Truss was “like the deaf talking to the blind,” and that the sides had struggled to find common ground.
“Nobody is hearing each other, and unfortunately our efforts to explain ourselves have not been heard,” Lavrov concluded.
Unfortunately, the head of the British Foreign Ministry did not understand the meaning of the state expression “the deaf talking to the blind” and took it too literally.
“I definitely wasn’t dumb in our conversation. I have clearly stated the UK’s position on the situation. We are doing everything possible to prevent Russia’s actions in Ukraine. […] I also listened to Minister Lavrov,” Truss said.
During the meeting, Truss urged the Kremlin “to take the path of diplomacy” and warned that “a war in Ukraine would be disastrous for the Russian and Ukrainian people and for European security.” However, Lavrov noted that Russia has been calling for diplomacy “for all these years” and will continue doing it. Though, he expressed his concern over all kinds of agreements saying that “Russia has been cheated and wronged for many years, many times, when it comes to agreements and obligations from other states.”
Despite Lavrov’s statements, Truss continued to follow her own plan of the talks and doubled down on threats of sanctions, saying that if Moscow makes an offensive, the response from the Western nations will crack down on the country’s economy. The Russian Foreign Minister once again reiterated Moscow’s position that it has no aggressive intentions.
“Some are saying we’re waiting for the ground to freeze in Ukraine so that Russians tanks can move forward, well, this is the frozen ground between us and our British counterparts. Either our counterparts aren’t aware of the facts, or they’re ignoring them,” Lavrov stressed.
Lavrov considers UK’s staff withdrawal to be a sign of suspicious preparations
At the same time, the veteran envoy said that decisions by the UK and US to withdraw diplomatic staff and their families from Ukraine due to fears of a conflict have no ground.
“We have already thought for ourselves: maybe it is the Anglo-Saxons who are preparing something if they evacuate their employees. We have also looked at their actions and, probably, we will also advise the non-essential personnel of our diplomatic institutions to go home for a while,” Lavrov said.
As reminded, the partial evacuation of employees of the Western embassies and their family members from Ukraine began in January 2022 amid accusations against Russia of preparing an “invasion”. On January 24, the US State Department allowed part of the embassy staff to leave Ukraine. In addition, US citizens are advised to refrain from travelling to Ukraine, and those who are currently in the country are advised to leave its borders.
In turn, Ukraine’ President, Volodymyr Zelensky, called the decision of Western countries a mistake. He said that embassy staff are “the captains of diplomacy” who are “the last to leave the ship.”
Russia’s Ambassador: UK’s obsession with Ukraine makes it weaker
In general, the Ukrainian issue made the UK “obsessed” with it and sucked up vast amounts of British and EU money that could have been used for their domestic needs, as noticed by Russia’s Ambassador to London Andrey Kelin. He expressed his regrets on the deterioration of London-Moscow relations, though mentioned that he doesn’t see much logic in the British obsession with Kiev.
“I really do not understand why the UK is so much concentrated on Ukraine, on the necessity to support Ukraine. Ukraine is consuming money from France, Britain, the EU, the World Bank […] This is billions and billions of dollars which can be spent with much more efficiency, in these days especially,” Kelin noted.
Commenting on the state of relations between Russia and NATO over Ukraine, the Ambassador accused the military bloc of breaking agreements previously reached with Moscow, in particular, by increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe. He stated that this is a violation of the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, as the document forbids the bloc from stationing nuclear weapons or permanent military forces in its new member states.
Kelin expressed his absolute confidence in the fact that it is the US and the UK who are being the main drivers behind the increased tensions between the collective West and Russia.
“Certainly, we will never be flexible on sanctions. If they will be imposed, we will repel them, we will respond on an equal basis,” Kelin warned, adding that EU sanctions only contributed to Russia’s increased resilience.
Finally, the Ambassador said he really believes dialogue is needed for reaching real, tangible results in relations with Russia.
“We need peaceful, normal coexistence […] We need real cooperation, real partnership and normal relationship,” Kelin concluded.
Source: RT, RBC