Russia now ‘almost’ on brink of all-out war with the West, says Sergei Lavrov | World | News

Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said that Russia is “almost” in a conventional war with the West as the Kremlin fumes at the level of support for Ukraine. His comments come as the US and European nations pledge billions in military aid for Ukraine to help the country fight off Russia‘s invading forces.

Mr Lavrov’s made his remarks on Monday while on a state visit to South Africa. He said the was could no longer be branded a “hybrid” conflict and is now “almost a real one.”

He added: “It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict,’ Lavrov said.

“It is well known and was published openly that our American, British, and some European colleagues told Ukraine that it is too early to deal, and the arrangement which was almost agreed was never revisited by the Kyiv regime.”

A peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine remains an ambitious objective. Ukraine has said it will not back down until the Russians have fully retreated from Ukrainian territory, including the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

But Russia wants control of areas in the east and south of Ukraine before it considers a peace process.

On Monday, Mr Lavrov met with South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor. She said that her country is trying to support a “peaceful resolution” in Ukraine.

Ms Pandor added: “We are fully alert that conflict, wherever it exists in the world, impacts negatively on all of us, and as the developing world it impacts on us, particularly as the African continent.

“This is why as South Africa we consistently articulate that we will always stand ready to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the continent and throughout the globe.”

Ukraine is the world’s biggest exporter of grain, and is therefore crucial to the world’s food market.

Russia‘s blockade of the Black Sea earlier in the war led to a huge disruption in grain supply around the world, and African countries are still impacted.

The United Nations warned that Somalia is now enduring a “catastrophic” food emergency.

Despite Russia‘s aggression, South Africa has been one of few countries where the government has been less critical of Vladimir Putin.

South Africa abstained from a United Nations vote last year condemning Russia‘s actions in Ukraine.

More to follow…

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