A top Russian diplomat said on Russian radio Friday the country does not want to go to war in Ukraine.
“There won’t be a war as far as it depends on the Russian Federation. We don’t want a war,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview, The Associated Press reported. “But we won’t let our interests be rudely trampled on and ignored.”
The remark comes after President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke on the phone Thursday, with Biden saying Russia could invade at any time and Zelensky pushing back, saying an invasion is not imminent.
Russia has thousands of troops at the border of Ukraine while it demands NATO not allow the former Soviet state into its pact and that Western countries get weapons out of Eastern Europe.
Lavrov contends Western countries are breaking international agreements that state the security of one country can not happen to the detriment of another, according to the AP.
“It will be hard for them to wiggle out from answering why they aren’t fulfilling the obligations sealed by their leaders not to strengthen their security at the expense of others,” Lavrov said.
The U.S. and NATO have said Russia’s demands are non-starters in negotiations and their position on those matters will not change. The U.S. offered other solutions such as limiting military drills and deployment of missiles.
Lavrov said Russia suggested addressing those issues years ago but their call fell on deaf ears. He also stated Russian President Vladimir Putin will respond to the U.S.’s offer, but Russia is unlikely to change its demands.
“While they say they won’t change their positions, we won’t change ours,” Lavrov said, the AP noted. “I don’t see any room for compromise here.”
Biden and other Western countries have promised harsh economic sanctions on Russia and economic support for Ukraine if Russia were to attack, but held off on offering military backup.
Lavrov said Russia would cut all ties with the U.S. if the sanctions were implemented.
“Had a long phone conversation with @POTUS. Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future. Thanked President @JoeBiden for the ongoing military assistance. Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed,” the president of Ukraine said Thursday.