Amid an ongoing war with Ukraine, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday expressed hope to resolve issues with the West to resume supply of Ukrainian grain at Black Sea ports, but asserted they have to be willing to talk and if they don’t, “it is their choice”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 meet, the Russian foreign minister said Moscow was open to negotiations with the West. This was the first time Russia had a face-to-face meeting with its fiercest critics from the West, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “It’s not us who’ve ceased mutual contacts. This has been done by the US… We do not run after anyone, offering to meet. If they do not want to talk, it is their choice,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by TASS at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting.
“We’re ready for negotiations with our Ukrainian & Turkish colleagues. We’ve all solutions, if we’re talking about Ukrainian grain, then Ukraine must unblock its ports, clear them of mines or ensure safe passage through minefields,” he added.
He also claimed the US was trying to force the whole world, including Europe, to abandon cheaper energy sources and switch to more expensive ones.
“Russia is ready to fulfill all its obligations on the supply of cheap energy,” Lavrov reportedly said, accusing western nations of employing doublethink on Ukraine.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict and its impact on food security and energy were the talking points of the closed-door gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali. The meeting ended without any joint statement or announcements of any agreements being reached.
“The West’s doublethink shows that it is ideology that comes first rather than their concern about Ukrainians, Ukraine and European security in general,” Lavrov stressed.
Lavrov further blamed western countries at the meeting for having “avoided following the G20 mandate, focusing on global economic issues and seeking agreements to pave the way for solutions on sustainable development at the United Nations.
“Instead, immediately after taking the floor, they started to castigate Russia in a frenzied manner over the situation in Ukraine,” he added.
The Russia-Ukraine war is now in its fifth month and has displaced millions of people, killed untold thousands and shattered European security that was arduously reconstructed after World War II.
The war has also rippled through the world economy causing higher prices for essentials like food and fuel. Ukraine has been unable to export millions of tons of grain and other food, while Russia has been bombarded with international sanctions by the West for its invasion.