Russia’s ultimatum: Ukraine meets Moscow’s demands or Russian troops will die

  • Russia’s Lavrov: West and Ukraine want to destroy Russia
  • Nearly 9 million Ukrainians without electricity – Zelensky
  • Situation on Donbas front ‘distressing’ – Zelensky
  • Russia says Ukrainian drone strikes air base

KYIV, Dec 27 (Reuters) – A day after President Vladimir Putin said he was open to talks over Ukraine, Russia’s foreign minister lashed out at what he said was attempts by Kyiv and the West to destroy his The country, Ukraine must meet the demands of Moscow or the wishes of the military.

Kyiv and its Western allies have rejected Putin’s offer of talks, with Putin’s army attacking Ukrainian towns with missiles and rockets, and Moscow continuing to demand that Kyiv recognize that it has conquered a fifth of the country’s territory.

Kyiv says it will fight until Russia withdraws its troops.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by state news agency TASS as saying: “We demilitarize and de-Nazify the territory controlled by the regime, eliminate threats to Russian security from there, including our new lands, to the enemy It is well known,” he said later on Monday.

“The point is simple: fulfill them in your own interest. Otherwise, the question will be decided by the Russian military.”

On February 2, Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. On the 24th, he called it a “special operation” aimed at “denazifying” and demilitarizing Ukraine, which he said posed a threat to Russia.

Kyiv and the West have called Putin’s invasion a mere imperialist land grab. The U.S. and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia for its aggression and have provided billions of dollars in aid to the Ukrainian government.

Just last week, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington, the United States angered Moscow by announcing $1.85 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including the transfer of the Patriot air defense system.

Lavrov further told TASS: “It is well known that the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism to significantly weaken or even destroy our country.”

He reiterated that Russia and the United States cannot maintain normal contact, and blamed the administration of US President Joe Biden.

While Moscow plans to move quickly to take over its neighbor, the war is now in its 11th month and Russia has suffered many embarrassing setbacks on the battlefield.

In the latest attack to expose gaps in Russian air defenses, a drone believed to be Ukrainian penetrated hundreds of kilometers of Russian airspace on Monday, causing deadly explosions at the main base of its strategic bombers.

fierce battle

For months, Russian troops have been fighting fiercely in eastern and southern Ukraine to defend lands Moscow announced in September to annex that make up the wider Ukraine’s industrial Donbass region.

Ukrainian troops have repelled Russian attacks on two settlements in the Luhansk region and six in the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Tuesday.

In a video message Monday night, Zelensky called the situation on the Donbass front “difficult and painful”.

Olekh Zhdanov, a military analyst based in Kyiv, said heavy fighting was taking place around the heights near Kremina in the Lugansk region.

He also said fighting had intensified along the Bakhmut and Avdiivka contact lines further south in the Donetsk region after a brief de-escalation in the previous days.

“The arc of fire in the Donetsk region continues to burn,” Zhdanov said in a social media video post.

Nearly 9 million people were without power due to attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Zelensky said. This figure accounts for about a quarter of Ukraine’s population.

Sergey Kovalenko, the head of YASNO, which supplies electricity to Kyiv, said late Monday that while the power situation in the city had been improving, the outages would continue.

“While repairs are underway, the emergency shutdown will continue,” Kovalenko said on his Facebook page.

Russian airspace

Moscow said on Monday it shot down a drone it believed to be Ukrainian, causing it to crash at a British air base where three service members were killed. In line with its usual policy on incidents in Russia, Ukraine did not comment.

On December 12, a suspected drone struck the same base. 5.

The base, which is the main airport for bombers that Kyiv says Moscow uses to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, is hundreds of miles from the Ukrainian border. The aircraft are also designed to launch nuclear-capable missiles as part of Russia’s long-term strategic deterrence.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that no planes were damaged, but Russian and Ukrainian social media accounts said several planes had been destroyed. Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

On Monday, Putin hosted leaders of other former Soviet states in St. Petersburg for a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States group from which Ukraine has long since withdrawn.

The invasion of Ukraine has been a test of Russia’s longstanding authority over other former Soviet states.

In a televised address, Putin made no direct reference to the war but said threats to security and stability in Eurasia were growing.

“Unfortunately, the challenges and threats in this area, especially from outside, are increasing every year,” he said. “Unfortunately, we also have to acknowledge that there are also differences among members of the Commonwealth.”

Reporting in the Reuters office; Writing by Michael Perry and Lidia Kelly; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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