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Lavrov Says Russia Ready for Contacts to End Ukrainian Crisis, Slams US Pathogen Experiments There

© Photo : RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRYRussia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (File)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2022
Moscow and Kiev have held three rounds of talks in Belarus since the start of the special operation by the Russian armed forces to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine. So far, the only agreement the sides have reached is to open humanitarian corridors.
There is no alternative to the Russia-Ukraine talks being held in Belarus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated following talks with his Ukrainian counterpart in Turkey.
"Today's conversation confirmed that [the Belarusian] track [for negotiations] has no alternatives", Lavrov said.
He noted that the issue of negotiating a ceasefire was not on the agenda of his talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba today.
The foreign minister stated that Moscow supports any contacts that are aimed at ending the current crisis in Ukraine. He added that these contacts must have "added value" for Moscow to agree to them.
"We act based on the premise that these contacts will not be used to replace or devalue the real main negotiating track that is developing on Belarusian territory – something that our colleagues, mostly Ukrainian, do routinely", Lavrov said.
Lavrov noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin never says "no" to contacts, as long as these meetings are not held "for the sake of meetings themselves". Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier offered Putin to meet personally to discuss the Russian special operation in Ukraine, which he and his Western allies call an "invasion". The Kremlin has not yet confirmed that such talks are being organised, but the issue was raised during Lavrov's talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in Turkey on 10 March.
The Russian foreign minister further stated that Moscow wants Ukraine to remain neutral and is ready to discuss security guarantees related to it – for Ukraine, European countries, and Russia itself. Lavrov added that Moscow wishes to see Ukraine as a friendly country that does not issue bans on Russian language and culture.
President Vladimir Putin on 24 February ordered Russian troops to launch a special operation in Ukraine with the goal to demilitarise and de-Nazify the country. Putin said that Moscow was left with no other choice amid Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, continuing attacks on Donbass, and threats to withdraw from the Budapest Memorandum, which assured Ukraine's status as non-nuclear state.

Russia Outraged by US Activities at Biolabs in Ukraine

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was "outraged" by the experiments that the Pentagon conducted at bio laboratories in Ukraine. He said that American money was used to experiment on dangerous pathogens that could potentially be used in biological weapons.
"Of course, the Americans carried out their activities in deep secrecy. Just like they work in other states in the post-Soviet expanse, creating their military biological laboratories right along the borders of the Russian Federation, as well as China", he said.
Lavrov said that Russia currently does not have any information regarding the use of biological weapons by Ukraine, but insisted that the experiments conducted in the US-funded biolabs were not benign and were aimed at the creation of prohibited biological weapons, including "ethnically-oriented" ones.
The Russian Defence Ministry earlier published copies of the documents seized by the nation's military, which indicated that personnel in several Ukrainian laboratories were instructed to destroy the samples of dangerous pathogens amid fears that these biolabs would be seized by Russian troops. The ministry added that these laboratories were funded by the US and that they conducted experiments on such pathogens as African swine fever, anthrax, and bat coronavirus – the presumed ancestor of the COVID-19 virus.
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