Russia does not want war with Ukraine, says foreign minister Lavrov
Updated 17:40, 28-Jan-2022

Russia doesn't want war, but will not ignore its interests, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to Russian media on Friday.

The minister stressed that the talks on security guarantees with NATO and the U.S. are not over.

The U.S. proposals were better than proposals received from NATO, he said, adding that he expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the next couple of weeks. 

Blinken said Wednesday that the United States delivered a written letter to Russia addressing Moscow's concerns. The letter, Blinken said, was in response to Russia recently outlining "its concerns and proposals in writing" to the United States. 

The Russian foreign minister said on Thursday that Russia sees "no positive reaction" from the U.S. on Moscow's main security demands and that President Vladimir Putin would "decide on our next steps," according to Russian media Interfax.

Advisors to the heads of state of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met on Wednesday and published a joint statement on the website of the French presidency.

Reaffirming their commitment to upholding the ceasefire that was agreed upon within the "Minsk agreements," they stressed unconditional compliance with the ceasefire regardless of differences on other issues related to implementing the Minsk agreements.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that Minsk had absolutely no interest in a war, and that conflict would only break out if Belarus or its close ally Russia were directly attacked.

Moscow and Minsk are set to hold joint drills in Belarus to the north of Ukraine next month.

Russian warships have been rehearsing shooting at airborne and sea targets during exercises in the Black Sea to the south of Ukraine, Reuters reported citing the Russian Ministry of Defense early on Friday. 

Meanwhile, Lavrov said he would talk by phone with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock later on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia is keen for German regulatory authorities to give the green light to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline despite soaring tensions around Ukraine.

(Cover: File photo of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. /CFP)

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