Russia’s foreign minister has again urged the United States and NATO to stop supplying Kyiv with arms if they are “really interested in resolving the Ukraine crisis”, Chinese state media has reported.
“If the US and NATO are really interested in resolving the Ukraine crisis, then first of all, they should wake up and stop supplying the Kyiv regime with arms and ammunition,” Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with China’s official Xinhua news agency.
The US and several European countries have supplied weapons worth billions of dollars to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. US President Joe Biden has asked Congress for $33bn to support Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly warned Washington against continuing its military assistance to Kyiv, accusing the US of “pouring oil on the flames” of the war.
The Kremlin had previously called Western arms deliveries to Ukraine a threat to European security.
Months into an invasion that failed in its short-term aim of capturing Kyiv, Moscow is now intensifying operations in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
But Lavrov told China’s official Xinhua news agency that the “special military operation … is proceeding strictly according to plan”.
China has avoided condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and defends its firm friendship with Moscow, with state media often echoing the Russian line on the war.
Russia said Western sanctions and arms shipments to Ukraine are hampering peace negotiations. Lavrov said the talks continue – but that progress is difficult.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Polish journalists that chances were “high” talks to end the conflict could end without any agreement.
“The risks that the talks will end are high because of what they (the Russians) have left behind them, the impression that they have a playbook on murdering people,” Interfax news agency quoted Zelenskyy as telling Polish journalists.
The shaky talks have not been held in person for a month.
The West has imposed wide-ranging sanctions largely cutting off Russia’s financial sector from the global economy. Hundreds of multinational corporations have also exited Russia in the wake of the war in a blow to its economy.
European countries have pledged to cut reliance on Russian gas to deprive Moscow of revenue.
In his interview with Xinhua, Lavrov said that Russia could “retool” its economy to guard against potential “unlawful hostilities”.
He added that the sanctions-hit country will focus on moving away from the US dollar and lean less on imports, while boosting its tech independence, Xinhua reported.
Moscow has pursued a “de-dollarisation” policy for several years, calling on partners such as China and India to conduct payments in other currencies.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian prosecutors say they have pinpointed more than 8,000 war crimes and are investigating 10 Russian soldiers for suspected atrocities in Bucha, where dozens of bodies in civilian clothes were found following Moscow’s retreat.
Moscow denies the claims.