Lavrov says Russia is open to talks with the West, waiting for a serious proposal

LONDON (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow was open to talks with the West over the Ukraine war but had yet to receive any serious negotiation proposal.

Lavrov said in an interview on state television that Russia was ready to engage with the United States or Turkey on ways to end the war, which has now entered eight months.

His assertion of Russia’s receptiveness to the talks came after a series of stinging defeats since the beginning of September that turned the conflict’s momentum in Ukraine’s favour.

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Lavrov said officials, including White House national security spokesman John Kirby, said the United States was open to talks, but Russia refused.

“This is a lie,” Lavrov said. We have not received any serious offers to make contact.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a session of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to approve laws on the annexation of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia regions to Russia, in Moscow, Russia, on October 3, 2022. Russia’s State Duma/Handout via Reuters

He also said that Russia would not reject a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in mid-November in Indonesia, and would consider the proposal if he got it.

“We have repeatedly said that we never refuse meetings. If there is a proposal, we will consider it,” Lavrov said.

Commenting on the possibility that Turkey would host talks between Russia and the West, Lavrov said that Moscow would be willing to listen to any suggestions, but could not say in advance whether it would lead to results.

He said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have the opportunity to present proposals to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they both visit Kazakhstan this week.

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Lavrov noted that direct talks between Russia and Ukraine were disrupted at the end of March. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out speaking with Putin after Russia announced last month the annexation of four Ukrainian regions it partially occupies.

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Reporting by Reuters. Editing by Guy Faulconbridge

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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