Russia respects Ukraine's sovereignty as per 1991 Declaration - Foreign Minister Lavrov

Russia respects Ukraine's sovereignty, but will not beg Zelensky to talk

Russia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine as per the 1991 Declaration of Independence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference following the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.

Moscow recognised Ukraine's sovereignty back in 1991, Lavrov said, adding that Moscow has no problems with the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"It was destroyed by those who carried out and supported the coup, whose leaders declared war against their own people and started bombing their own people,” the minister said.

Ukraine's neutral status is of fundamental importance for Russia

Speaking about the Declaration of Independence, the Russian Foreign Minister recalled an important condition for the Russian side regarding the status of Ukraine.

"It was very important for us in the Declaration of Independence that Ukraine would be a non-aligned country that would not join any military alliances," Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said. "We support the territorial integrity of Ukraine in that wording, under those conditions,” he emphasised.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier spoke about the principled nature of Ukraine's neutral status as well.

"Not everyone knows this, but we know it well that Kiev gained its independence and autonomy during the collapse of the Soviet Union on the basis of a declaration of independence, and in this declaration it was written in black and white that Ukraine is a neutral state. This is of fundamental importance for us,” the Russian leader said.

  • Ukraine celebrates Independence Day on August 24.
  • The Supreme Council of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted a declaration of sovereignty on August 24, 1991.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly stated that the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine within the 1991 borders was the main goal of the conflict with Russia. No peace can be achieved through territorial compromises, Zelensky also claimed.

Moscow will not beg Zelensky for peace talks

When asked whether he considered any option for a peaceful resolution of the conflict that did not imply the return of Crimea, the Ukrainian president said:

"This will not be a victory then. We can not imagine Ukraine without Crimea."

In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Zelensky's "peace formula” was an illusion as Kiev was obviously not ready for dialogue. Moscow has not intend to talk on such terms, Lavrov said.

Moscow will not try to persuade Ukrainian President Zelensky to start negotiations by revoking the decree that Zelensky had signed (the decree excluded an opportunity for Ukraine to start negotiations with Russia during Putin's presidency — ed.).

"Zelensky has not yet canceled the decree, no one is going to give him any engagements,” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said.

Western leaders are trying to convince other countries that peace in the conflict in Ukraine can only be achieved according to Zelensky's formula only, but at the same time they all realise that his plan is absolutely unrealisable, Sergei Lavrov said. No one demonstrates an understanding of what is happening in Ukraine now, the minister added.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov