Russia’s Lavrov issues chilling ultimatum

Russia: Woman is dragged off bus after criticising war in Ukraine

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Just a day after Putin claimed to be open to negotiations, his foreign minister lashed out – claiming that Kyiv and the West were seeking to “destroy” his country.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, seen as tyrant Putin’s mouthpiece, issued the stark threat.

He warned: “Our proposals for the demilitarisation and denazification of the territories controlled by the regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy.

“The point is simple: Fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”

Experts said Lavrov’s menacing statement to Russian news agency Tass may have been inspired by America’s new £1.53billion military aid package to Ukraine, including a transfer of the Patriot missile system.

The gift was confirmed last week when Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington, on his first trip abroad since the invasion started.

Lavrov made it clear the move has angered Moscow, adding: “It is no secret to anyone that the strategic goal of the US and its Nato allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country.”

He reiterated that Russia and the US could not maintain normal relations, blaming President Joe Biden.

The war’s 11th month has so far been marked by embarrassing Russian setbacks.

On Monday, a drone believed to be Ukrainian penetrated hundreds of kilometres through Russian airspace, causing a deadly explosion at the main base for Putin’s strategic bombers.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are still engaged in months-long bloody battles to the east and south of Ukraine, mainly in the industrial Donbas region, as they cling to areas Moscow claims to have annexed since September.

But in the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces have again repelled Russian attacks in the areas of two settlements in the Luhansk region, as well as six in the Donetsk region, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported.

However, in his nightly video message on Boxing Day, President Zelensky called the situation along the frontline in Donbas “difficult and painful”.

He added that as a result of attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, nearly nine million people were without power – a figure that amounts to about a quarter of Ukraine’s population.

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