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Russia sees no reason to change Ukraine war goals, Lavrov tells OSCE

RUSSIA sees no reason to “review its goals” in Ukraine and will continue its war, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today on the fringes of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Skopje.

The meeting was overshadowed by controversy over Mr Lavrov’s attendance, with Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia boycotting it because of Russian participation.

The OSCE was set up in the 1970s specifically as a forum in which countries on both sides of the cold war could discuss differences, and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell backed North Macedonia’s waiver of a flight ban to allow Russia to attend, saying it served “the common objective of keeping multilateralism alive.”

It would provide a platform for countries to force Mr Lavrov to listen directly to their criticisms, he argued.

But Polish Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said it was absurd to invite Russia to a conference about peace and security in Europe while it was invading Ukraine. Ukraine has called for the OSCE to expel Russia, which has already been kicked out of the Council of Europe. 

In any case Mr Lavrov was in bullish mood, saying the OSCE risked becoming an “appendage” of the US-led Nato military alliance and was “on the edge of a precipice,” with Russia uncertain whether it was worth continuing to engage.

Other international bodies such as the Arctic Council have been disabled by the Ukraine war, with a boycott on meetings with Russia effectively ending all international negotiations over militarisation and resource extraction in the ecologically fragile region.

The Russian Foreign Minister said he had seen “no signals from Kiev or its masters about readiness to seek any kind of political settlement” to the war, and therefore Russia’s objectives would remain unchanged.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, interviewed by the Associated Press on Thursday, said that the country’s negligible gains during a counter-offensive that began in the summer were understandable given it was fighting “the second [most powerful] army in the world,” but admitted Ukraine was losing too many soldiers, had failed to receive as much Western military equipment as it hoped for and was worried the Gaza war would shift the US focus on aid to Israel.

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