After the “Ukrainian side presented its draft agreements to our negotiators,” Russian officials claimed it was a “clear departure from key provisions that were committed to at the meeting in Istanbul” last week, Lavrov said, according to state-run media Sputnik News.
While Lavrov didn’t elaborate on the details of Ukraine’s draft proposal, he said “it offers vague formulations about some kind of ‘effective control,’ and ‘as of 23 February,’” without elaborating. Feb. 23 refers to the day before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s likely that at the next stage, the Ukrainian side will ask for the withdrawal of troops, and pile up more and more preconditions. This plan is understandable, but it is unacceptable,” he said.
A day earlier, the minister claimed that Russia–Ukraine peace talks aren’t going as quickly as planned and blamed the West for focusing on allegations from Ukrainian officials that Russian forces massacred civilians in Bucha, located near Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials in Kyiv claimed that genocidal actions were carried out in the suburb last weekend, while Russia has categorically denied the allegations.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on April 7 also accused the West of trying to undermine negotiations by continuing to supply Ukraine’s military with weapons and equipment, according to Sputnik. Such actions, he said, “will more likely have a negative effect.”
Ukraine stepped up its calls on April 7 for financial sanctions crippling enough to force Moscow to end the war as its officials rushed to evacuate civilians from cities and towns in the east before an anticipated major Russian offensive there.
“Once and for all, we can teach Russia and any other potential aggressors that those who choose war always lose,” Zelenskyy said in an address to the Greek Parliament. “Those who blackmail Europe with economic and energy crisis always lose.”
Earlier this week, the United States and European countries said they would place more sanctions on Russia’s economy and leadership, including penalties against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters and a ban on U.S. investment in Russia. The Biden administration also called for Russia to be booted from the Group of 20 major economies.
Meanwhile, following an election this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told reporters on April 6 that his country will likely pay for Russian natural gas in rubles, which was demanded by Moscow about a week ago.
Reuters contributed to this report.