The Kremlin’s top diplomat said Moscow can no longer trust Washington and the potential for nuclear war has escalated. The Russian foreign minister suggested talks with American officials were possible, but Washington has not made an effort to engage.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavorv’s remarks were reported in TASS on Wednesday. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it repeatedly that we are open for cooperation,” he said. “But, in regards to our former Western partners, we can no longer rely on agreements with them, including legally binding ones. It is a ‘fight of worlds,’ of sorts.”
He went on to indicate that talks between the two sides are unlikely. “Each time [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken requested contact – it happened twice in the last eighteen months, I think – I either answered his phone call or we talked on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali for about ten minutes.” He continued, “But there were no more requests.”
Contact between the White House and the Kremlin has been through national security advisor Jake Sullivan rather than Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Lavrov argued part of the issue is Western leaders have stated they will indefinitely provide military support to Ukraine. “They never answer the question – ‘it takes’ to do what? It is one thing to end the military campaign, like they ended it in Afghanistan or in Iraq,” he explained, adding, “It is, probably, a slightly different thing If they want to use this campaign to completely annihilate the Ukrainian army. That is, when they smelled trouble in Afghanistan, in Iraq, they simply high-tailed it out of there. They have no interest in Ukraine itself.”
The diplomat said Moscow has no plans to conclude the war before achieving its goals in Ukraine, and the Wagner insurrection had no major battlefield impacts. “As we overcame the attempted mutiny, we haven’t made the slightest concessions with respect to the goals of the special military operation and haven’t lost any positions on the battlefield… It’s impossible to give them up – the goals that have been set.”
Lavrov warned the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Moscow escalated the risk of nuclear war, blaming the US for withdrawing from Cold War-era agreements. “It is a medical fact that they have destroyed the entire international legal system of deterrence and strategic stability.” He added, “It’s a good thing they do not want a nuclear war, no one wants it. And the system of agreements, which has been destroyed by the United States, exists specifically to reduce its risk and to make this risk negligible at all.”
Since the end of the Cold War, Washington withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. While Moscow suspended its participation in the New Start agreement earlier this year.