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Russia Ready To Hold Talks If Ukraine Lays Down Arms, Says Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow wants to free Ukraine from oppression.

Updated: February 25, 2022 4:58 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Manmath Nayak

Russia Ready To Hold Talks If Ukraine Lays Down Arms, Says Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will hold talks once Ukraine's Army stops fighting.

Moscow: Even as the Russian forces approached Kyiv on the second day of attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said Moscow wants to free Ukraine from oppression. He said the country is ready to hold talks once Ukraine’s Army stops fighting.

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“On Thursday early morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin took the decision to conduct a special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine so that, the Ukrainians themselves could freely determine their future,” Lavrov further added.

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On the second day of the attack, Russia pressed its invasion of Ukraine to the outskirts of the capital after unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks from three sides.

Explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv as Western leaders scheduled an emergency meeting and Ukraine’s president pleaded for international help.

In a statement, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the government had information that subversive groups were encroaching on the city, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kyiv could well be under siege” in what US officials believe is a brazen attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismantle the government and replace it with his own regime.

As Russian missiles bombarded cities and military bases, government leaders pleaded for help and for powerful sanctions against Russia. Civilians piled into trains and cars to flee and patrons of a hotel were directed into a shelter as explosions sounded in Kyiv.

“Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom,” Zelenskyy said in a tweet. On Thursday, he had pleaded for even more severe sanctions than the ones imposed by Western allies and ordered a full military mobilisation that would last 90 days.

Zelenskyy said 137 heroes , including 10 military officers, had been killed and 316 people wounded. The dead included border guards on the Zmiinyi Island in the Odesa region, which was taken over by Russians.

He concluded an emotional speech by saying that the fate of the country depends fully on our army, security forces, all of our defenders. He also said the country had heard from Moscow that “they want to talk about Ukraine’s neutral status”.

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Published Date: February 25, 2022 4:47 PM IST

Updated Date: February 25, 2022 4:58 PM IST