Published 24/09/2023 10:15 | Edited 09/25/2023 16:47
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Ukraine’s proposed peace plan and recent UN proposals to revitalize the Black Sea Grains Initiative are “unrealistic.” His statements came after a week of intense diplomatic activities during the annual meeting of world leaders at UN headquarters in New York.
Lavrov described the 10-point peace plan promoted by Kiev as “completely unfeasible” and said it cannot be implemented in practice. He also highlighted that everyone is aware of the unfeasibility of this plan, but that it is considered the only basis for negotiations. The Russian minister suggested that if Ukraine and the West maintain this position, the conflict could be resolved on the battlefield.
“It is completely unfeasible,” Lavrov said of a 10-point peace plan promoted by Kiev. “It is not possible to implement this. It’s not realistic and everyone understands that, but at the same time they say this is the only basis for negotiations.”
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Although there are several leaders from around the world, such as Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva himself, trying to mediate negotiations between Putin and Zelensky, both maintain their plans unshakable. As Lula said, the West needs to take Russian demands into account, just as Russia will need to give up invaded areas. However, the plans that emerge involve only abandoning Russia’s demands, as well as punishing it severely with costs in rebuilding Ukraine.
President Zelensky’s ten-point peace plan does not allow for concessions, as it can only be implemented if Russia is completely defeated. The Ukrainian plan is not a negotiating plan; in fact, Ukrainian leaders have made it very clear that they cannot talk to the Russian regime while Putin is in power.
Furthermore, Lavrov explained that Russia abandoned the Black Sea grain agreement due to non-fulfillment of promises made to Russia. This includes removing sanctions on a Russian bank and reconnecting that bank to the global SWIFT system. He also stated that the latest UN proposals to revive the export corridor for Ukrainian agricultural products are “simply not realistic”.
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Russia’s withdrawal from that agreement had significant impacts on global prices of food commodities such as rice and vegetable oil, which increased for the first time in months. Additionally, India has imposed restrictions on rice exports.
The invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 triggered commercial disruptions and significant increases in international prices for energy, agricultural products and fertilizers, which were already high due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Russia’s Foreign Minister blamed the crises in food and energy markets on Western nations, which impose “unilateral coercive measures” – or sanctions – on the weakest.
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Lavrov criticized the West in his UN speech, calling it an “empire of lies” and accusing it of adopting a neocolonial mentality in its approaches to the Global South to gain support for Ukraine in the war. He argued that a “global majority” was being deceived by the West.
“The US and its subordinate collective continue to fuel conflicts that artificially divide humanity into hostile blocs and hinder the achievement of global goals,” said Lavrov. “They are trying to force the world to play by their own egocentric rules.”
As tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine, and Ukraine continues its counteroffensive to repel the Russian invasion and regain lost territory, the situation in the region remains volatile, with attacks and military actions ongoing.
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Constraints in Poland
Lavrov’s speech came as Zelensky awarded state awards to two Polish volunteers during a stopover in Poland, as relations between the two countries are strained over grain imports. He did not meet with any Polish government agent.
Zelensky angered his neighbors when he told the UN General Assembly that Kiev was working to preserve land routes for grain exports, but that the “political theater” surrounding imports was only helping Moscow. Poland decided last week to extend a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, shaking Kiev’s relationship with a neighbor that has been one of its staunchest allies.
“I want to tell President Zelensky never again to insult the Poles, as he did recently during his speech at the UN,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at an election rally on Friday.
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