Russia currently has no plans to change course in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said this today during a security conference where foreign ministers of various countries met. Lavrov indicated that Russia saw no reason to “correct” its intentions. “We have not seen any signal from Kiev or its leaders about a willingness to strive for a political solution,” a blunt Lavrov told the Western leaders present.
The annual conference of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) took place in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. The country joined NATO in 2020 and granted Russian officials an exception to the no-fly zone on this occasion. For representatives of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Lavrov’s visit was reason enough to avoid a protest meeting.
The presence of Russia’s foreign minister came under heavy criticism from the host country as it was said to go against core values of the OSCE, including human rights, freedom of the press and free elections. Foreign Minister of North Macedonia and guest Bujar Osmani acknowledged this in his opening remarks: “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is against everything this organization stands for.”
Lavrov is unfazed by the controversy surrounding his existence. In fact, he went into it by harshly criticizing his Western counterparts. For example, he called both US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell “cowards” for avoiding direct talks with Russia. Both representatives attended the meeting but have already left.
Cephas Van Aert