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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A war in Donbas against Ukraine can and must be avoided, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Sputnik.
“If it depends on us and on the [Donbas] militias, as far as we can understand their principled approaches, then war can and should be avoided, “Lavrov said, commenting on the likelihood of a war in light of the fact that more than half a million residents in Donbas have received Russian citizenship .
“If we speak for the Ukrainian side, for the part of [President Volodymyr] Zelenskii, I will not try to guess, because according to external signals, the important thing for him is to remain in power, and he is ready to pay any price, including the neo-Nazis and ultra-radicals who continue to declare Donbas militias to be terrorists ” he said.
Zelensky had also previously offered to increase Washington’s role in the process by bringing more participants to the peace talks in Normandy, including the US, UK and Canada. The Kremlin believes Zelenskyy’s statement on the need to introduce changes to the Minsk agreements is a “worrying signal,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Kiev was transporting equipment and weapons to the contact line in southeastern Ukraine and the European Union turns a blind eye to the attitude towards a military solution to the conflict in Donbas.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic also reported an increase in the number of attacks by Ukrainian security forces in late March. The head of the republic Denis Pushilin did not rule out the possibility of a large-scale attack by Kiev on the Donbas, stressing that “Ukraine has everything ready for this”.
In April 2014, Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) in Donbass, which declared independence after the coup in Ukraine in February 2014. According to the latest UN figures, about 13,000 people lost their lives in the conflict.
Russia has repeatedly claimed that it is not a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.