News ID: 321363
Published: 0312 GMT April 30, 2022

More than one million people evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since Feb. 24: Lavrov

More than one million people evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since Feb. 24: Lavrov
MAXIM SHIPENKOV/REUTERS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, Russia, on April 26, 2022.

More than one million people have been evacuated from Ukraine into Russia since Feb. 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in remarks published early on Saturday.

The 1.02 million includes 120,000 foreigners and people evacuated from Russian-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics, which Russia recognised as independent a few weeks ago, Reuters reported.

According to data from the United Nations, more than 5.4 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war.

Lavrov, in comments to China's official Xinhua news agency published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website, said 2.8 million people in Ukraine have asked to be evacuated into Russia.

Efforts to evacuate civilians from some front-line areas, including the besieged southern port of Mariupol, have repeatedly broken down, with each side blaming the other.

Lavrov said that if the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are "truly" interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, they should stop sending weapons to Kyiv.

"By publicly expressing support for the Kyiv regime, the NATO countries are doing everything to prevent ending of the operation through political agreements," he noted.

Lavrov added lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia is part of peace negotiations between Moscow and Ukraine, which are "difficult" but continue daily.

Kyiv warned on Friday that talks on ending the war, now in its third month, were in danger of collapse.

"At present, the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are actually discussing on a daily basis via videoconferencing a draft of a possible treaty," Lavrov said.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has insisted since the beginning of the crisis on Feb. 24 that Western sanctions on Russia needed to be strengthened and could not be part of negotiations.

Ukraine and Russia have not held face-to-face peace talks since March 29, and the atmosphere has soured over Ukrainian allegations that Russian troops carried out atrocities as they withdrew from areas near Kyiv. Moscow has denied the claims.

Moscow says its actions in Ukraine are a "special operation" to demilitarise and "denazify" its neighbour.

"The talks' agenda also includes, among others, the issues of denazificiation, the recognition of new geopolitical realities, the lifting of sanctions, the status of the Russian language," Lavrov said, without elaborating.

"We are in favour of continuing the negotiations, although they are difficult," he added.

Ukraine's Western allies have placed sweeping sanctions on Moscow. They have frozen around half of Russia's state gold and foreign currency reserves.

Violated vow

 

In a Friday tweet, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba blamed the NATO for its failure to fulfil its pledge of ensuring his country’s security after disarming Kyiv.

He said, “Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons for the sake of world peace. We have then been knocking on NATO’s door, but it never opened.”

Kuleba added the security vacuum in his country has led to the unfolding of the present circumstances, noting, “The world owes Ukraine security and we ask states to decide which security guarantees they are ready to provide.”

 

 

   
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Resource: Reuters
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