Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in remarks published early Saturday that lifting sanctions imposed on Russia is part of “difficult” but ongoing peace talks between Moscow and Ukraine.
On Friday, Kyiv warned that discussions to terminate Russia’s invasion, which are already in their third month, were in danger of collapsing.
“At the moment, the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are reviewing a text of a possible treaty on a daily basis via video-conferencing,” Lavrov said in comments to China’s official Xinhua news agency, which were later published on the Russian foreign ministry’s website.
Since the invasion began on February 24, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed that Western sanctions against Russia must be increased and that they cannot be part of any negotiations.
Since March 29, Ukraine and Russia have not undertaken face-to-face peace negotiations, and the climate has deteriorated as a result of Ukrainian charges that Russian troops committed crimes as they withdrew from areas near Kyiv.
The claims have been refuted by Moscow.
Moscow refers to its efforts in Ukraine as a “special operation” aimed at demilitarizing and “denazifying” the country.
Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of launching an unjustified aggressive campaign.
“The agenda of the negotiations also includes, among other things, topics of denazification, acceptance of new geopolitical realities, sanctions relief, and the status of the Russian language,” Lavrov stated, without going into detail.
“We support continuing the negotiations, notwithstanding their difficulties,” Lavrov added.
Ukraine’s Western partners have imposed broad sanctions against Russia.
They have frozen roughly half of Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves, wreaking havoc on the Russian economy and placing the country on the verge of insolvency.