A diplomatic solution to the Russian-Western crisis around Ukraine is possible, Russia said on Monday, at a time when Americans and Europeans fear an imminent invasion of this country by Moscow.
“I have to say there is still a chance,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, responding to a question from President Vladimir Putin, according to television footage.
“Our possibilities (of dialogue) are far from being exhausted,” said the minister, proposing to “extend” and “expand” them.
Sergei Lavrov’s statements come as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is visiting Kiev on Monday to meet the Ukrainian president there before a trip to Moscow, in a new diplomatic attempt to defuse the Russian-Western crisis which is destabilizing European security.
“We expect immediate signs of de-escalation from Moscow,” Olaf Scholz said in a tweet before his arrival in Ukraine, again threatening Russia with “serious consequences” in the event of “new military aggression”.
Kiev has officially asked Russia to explain the deployment of tens of thousands of soldiers on its borders, in accordance with its commitments within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. A meeting is scheduled for Tuesday within the OSCE.
The United States has been insisting for days that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any time”, and many capitals have called on their nationals to leave the country as soon as possible.
In this explosive context, global stock markets rocked on Monday.
Russia denies any aggressive intentions, but conditions any de-escalation on a series of “security guarantees”, in particular the assurance that Ukraine will never join NATO and a withdrawal from Eastern Europe. Alliance military infrastructure.
The West deemed these demands unacceptable, but proposed increased dialogue on other issues, such as arms control.