US, NATO directly involved in Ukraine conflict: Lavrov
OSCE meeting overshadowed by Russia\'s war, ban on Lavrov
OSCE meeting overshadowed by Russia's war, ban on LavrovMOSCOW, Dec 1: Russia's foreign minister on Thursday accused the West of becoming directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine by supplying it with weapons and training its soldiers.
Sergey Lavrov also said that Russia's strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities and other key infrastructure that have left millions without power, heating and water were intended to weaken Ukraine's military potential and derail the shipments of Western weapons.
"You shouldn't say that the U.S. and NATO aren't taking part in this war, you are directly participating in it," Lavrov said in a video call with reporters. "And not just by providing weapons but also by training personnel. You are training their military on your territory, on the territories of Britain, Germany, Italy and other countries."
He said that the barrage of Russian missile strikes was intended to "knock out energy facilities that allow you to keep pumping deadly weapons into Ukraine in order to kill the Russians."
"The infrastructure that is targeted by those attacks is used to ensure the combat potential of the Ukrainian armed forces and the nationalist battalions," Lavrov said.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of targeting key civilian infrastructure in order to reduce morale and force Ukraine into peace talks on Moscow's conditions.
Lavrov insisted that Moscow remains open for talks on ending the conflict. "We never asked for talks but always said that we are ready to listen to those who are interested in a negotiated settlement," Lavrov said.
The Kremlin has urged Ukraine to acknowledge Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as part of Russia and recognize other land gains that Russia has made since sending its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. It also has continued to push for guarantees that Ukraine wouldn't join NATO, along with vaguely formulated "demilitarization" and "denazification" goals.
Meanwhile, Europe's largest security organization, one founded to maintain peace and stability on the continent, opened a meeting Thursday with strong denunciations of Russia's war against Ukraine, a conflict that is among the greatest challenges the body has faced in its nearly half-century of existence.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been a rare international forum - along with the United Nations - where Russia and Western powers have been able meet to discuss security matters, and the meeting in Lodz, Poland, is the first high-level meeting of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
But since the war began, the OSCE has been another forum for the bitter clash to play out between Russia and the West, even as the OSCE's own powers to help resolve conflict have waned. -AP