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Sergei Lavrov and Liz Truss meet in December 2021. Alamy Stock Photo
ukraine tensions

Moscow meeting: Lavrov 'disappointed' with talks as Truss asks for 'Cold War rhetoric' to be dropped

Translations of what Sergei said indicate that he described their meeting like “a mute person talking to a deaf person”.

BRITAIN HAS SAID that Russia needs to withdraw troops from its border with Ukraine to ease tensions between Moscow and the West, amid fears that Moscow is planning to invade.

“We need to see the troops and the equipment stationed on the Ukrainian border moved elsewhere because at present it is in a very threatening posture,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at a press conference in Moscow.

Truss met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the latest in weeks of intensive negotiations between officials from Moscow and the West over European security and Ukraine tensions.

“Lavrov has said to me today that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine but we need to see those words followed up by actions,” Truss said after the talks in Moscow.

Those present at the the joint press conference between Lavrov and Truss say it was tense, with videos that include a live translation quoting Lavrov as describing their meeting like “a mute person talking to a deaf person”.

Leaders in Western capitals have been warning that Russia is preparing to escalate a separatist conflict in Ukraine after building up some 100,000 troops around its ex-Soviet neighbour.

Lavrov told reporters at the joint press conference that he was “disappointed” with the talks, repeating Russian complaints that its security concerns are being set aside.

“I felt our colleagues were either not aware of the explanations that have been given by our president, or they are completely ignoring them,” he said.

The British Foreign Secretary urged Russia to abandon “Cold War rhetoric”.

“The reality is we cannot ignore the build-up of over 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and the attempts to undermine Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.

Fundamentally, a war in Ukraine would be disastrous for the Russian and Ukrainian people, and for European security. And, together, Nato has made it clear that any incursion into Ukraine would have massive consequences and carry severe costs.

The meeting between the foreign ministers came as large-scale military exercises were kicking off with Russian and Belarusian troops in Belarus, which borders Ukraine.

© AFP 2022, with reporting from the Press Association. 

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