Russia reaffirmed today its desire to continue peace talks with Ukraine and warned of a “real danger” that the conflict would turn into World War III the day after U.S. ministers visited Kiev.
On the day the Russian army announced it had hit about 100 targets in Ukraine, including railways in the center of the country, Russian diplomat Sergueï Lavrov accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensk of “pretending” to argue with Moscow.
“He’s a good actor … if you look closely and read carefully what he says, you’ll find a thousand contradictions,” Lavrov said, quoted by Russian news agencies.
“But we will continue to negotiate with the team [ucraniana] and these contacts will continue, “he said.
Amid unprecedented tensions between Moscow and the West over the war in Ukraine, Lavrov warned of the danger of World War III.
“The danger is serious, it’s real, we can’t underestimate it,” he mused.
These statements were made the day after U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kiev, where they met with Zelensk. The visit was the first visit by US authorities since the start of the conflict on 24 February.
After returning from the trip, Lloyd Austin believed that Ukraine could win the war against Russia if it had the right equipment and support.
“The first thing to win is to believe that you can win. And they [ucranianos] are convinced they can win, “the U.S. Secretary of Defense said in a statement to reporters today.
Zelenski handed over to the US representatives an action plan drawn up by Yermak-McFaul, an international group of experts set up on the initiative of the President of Ukraine himself, to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation.
In particular, the plan proposes extending sanctions against Russia to include oil and gas, transportation, new economic bans and additional restrictions on Russian state-owned companies.
It also refers to the recognition of Russia as a terrorist state.
At a meeting with Zelensky, two leading U.S. policymakers said the U.S. had approved $ 713 million (€ 661 million) in foreign military funding for Ukraine and 15 Allies and Partners.
Of this amount, Ukraine will receive $ 322 million (€ 299 million) in foreign military funding and $ 165 million (€ 153 million) in ammunition.
The rest will be shared between NATO members and other countries that have provided military support to Kiev since the beginning of the war.
During the meeting, Blinken and Austin also revealed that US President Joe Biden will appoint the current Ambassador to Slovakia, Bridget Brink, as the new Ambassador to Ukraine.
Diplomats who left before the Russian invasion will begin returning to Ukraine next week, but the U.S. embassy in Kiev will remain closed for the time being.