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Lavrov: Zelensky is Trying to Provoke Conflict Between NATO and Russia

© AFP 2023 / SERGEI SUPINSKYUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference in Kiev on 3 March 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference in Kiev on 3 March 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.03.2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier expressed his disappointment with NATO failing to engage more in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, particularly for the alliance's reluctance to declare a no-fly zone over the country.
Volodymyr Zelensky is trying to provoke a conflict between Russia and NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.
According to Lavrov, by expressing his disappointment with the bloc's refusal to intervene, Zelensky is demonstrating his desire to drag NATO into the conflict.
"The constant embittered statements by Mr Zelensky do not add optimism", Lavrov noted. "He was a little rude to his curators, accusing them of inaction. And I have a question: if he was so upset that NATO did not stand up for him, as he hoped, then he still hoped for a settlement of the conflict by involving NATO in this whole story, and not through negotiations ... It turns out that he still wants to provoke a conflict".
The date for the next round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine has not been settled yet, the Russian foreign minister said, pointing at the reluctance of the Ukrainian side to engage.
"The situation looks rather strange, it seems that everyone is interested in reaching an early agreement on how to fully resolve everything. And on the other hand, it would seem that the most interested side, the Ukrainian side, constantly comes up with pretexts to postpone the start of the next meeting", Lavrov said.
The top Russian diplomat suggested that Zelensky's "militaristic frenzy" indicates that he does not need the talks with Moscow. Still, Lavrov said Russia hopes that Zelensky's mood changes.
The negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are taking place in Belarus, with the first round occurring on 28 February, followed by a second meeting on 3 March. During the second round, the parties reached an understanding on the joint provision of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians, along with the delivery of food and medicine. The Ukrainian side said that a third round of talks is expected to kick off next week.
NATO previously said that it does not consider itself a part of the conflict, stressing that the alliance will not deploy troops in Ukraine or move planes into its airspace. However, NATO continues to supply weapons to Ukraine, and said it will increase these supplies.
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