Lavrov leaves door open to diplomacy 48 hours ahead of expected Russian move on Ukraine

Is Moscow signally willingness to hold off its projected invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday? That is one interpretation of an exchange televised on Monday in which Russian FM Sergei Lavrov was seen telling President Vladimir Putin: “It seems to me that our possibilities are far from exhausted… At this stage, I would suggest continuing and building them up.”  He was responding to Putin’s query as to whether there was any chance of reaching an agreement to address Russia’s security concerns, or whether it was just being dragged into tortuous negotiations.

Lavrov replied: “We have already warned more than once that we will not allow endless negotiations on questions that demand a solution today.” But as foreign minister, he added, “I must say there are always chances.” At the same time, the minister said that the US had put forward concrete proposals on reducing military risks but responses from the EU and NATO were not satisfactory.

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