Russia accuses the United States of “direct” involvement in the Ukraine war, but Lavrov is open to talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States and NATO on Thursday of “direct” involvement in its war in Ukraine, but claimed Moscow remained open to talks.

At an annual news conference from Moscow, the foreign minister began his comments by defending the Russian missile barrage on civilian targets such as Ukraine’s energy sector and tried to claim that it was a defensive tactic to stop Western weapons.

We are shutting down power facilities [in Ukraine] that allow you [the West] “To pump lethal weapons into Ukraine to kill Russians,” Lavrov said, according to a Reuters translation.

Staff Sergeant of the United States Air Force. Cody Brown, right, with the 436th Air Port Squadron, checks the pallets of 155mm rounds that were eventually destined for Ukraine, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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“So don’t say that the United States and NATO are not involved in this war – you are directly involved,” he continued. “Including not only the supply of weapons, but also the training of personnel – you are training [Ukrainian] military on your lands.”

Lavrov was referring to international efforts to train Ukrainian soldiers in NATO tactics in countries such as Britain, Germany and Italy – comments made after reports emerged this week that Washington might expand its training of Ukrainian soldiers at US bases in Germany.

NATO has accused Russia of using winter as a “weapon of war” by forcing Ukrainian citizens to endure increasingly harsh conditions without electricity, heat or running water as the colder months arrive.

Ukrainian forces walk over a repaired Russian tank in a wooded area outside the city on September 26, 2022, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces walk over a repaired Russian tank in a wooded area outside the city on September 26, 2022, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

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The West has also claimed that Moscow is targeting the civilian population as a means of trying to force Kyiv to surrender as Russian forces have suffered heavy losses on the front lines.

It remains unclear what the general meaning is in Russia when it comes to Moscow’s deadly war in Ukraine, though cities across Russia have canceled Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in appreciation of the costly war.

Western estimates of the war’s toll on Russian forces indicate that they have seen at least 80,000 casualties since the war began in February.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he will not participate in peace talks until Russia completely withdraws all its forces from Ukraine.

Deteriorating relations between Russia and the West remains a major geopolitical concern, especially after Moscow withdrew from scheduled talks with Washington this week over the New START nuclear treaty.

Sitting next to South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul, left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens during the ASEAN Australia-New Zealand trade area in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 13, 2022.

Sitting next to South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul, left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens during the ASEAN Australia-New Zealand trade area in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Heng Sinith, file)

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Lavrov noted on Thursday that Russia remains open to talks with the United States and NATO member states, but said it was “naive” for the United States to think it would enter into nuclear talks at this time.

“At the moment we are not hearing any meaningful ideas,” he said. “If there are proposals from the president [Biden] And from other members of his administration, we will never shy away from connections.”

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