Lavrov accuses the West of lauching 'hybrid war' against Russia

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov has lashed out at the West's support for Ukraine in a series of fierce rhetorical blows during an hour-long news conference in Moscow.

As the West steps up military aid for Kyiv, the Kremlin's rhetoric appears to become increasingly hostile.

Speaking to reporters, Russia's top diplomat claimed the west was to blame for the war in Ukraine.

"What is taking place now in Ukraine is the result of many years of preparation by the United States and its allies to start a global hybrid war against the Russian Federation," Lavrov said.

"In fact, nobody hides this. Just recently Croatian President Milanovic said that it is NATO’s war against Russia. It is a straightforward and honest statement," he added.

The West decides - and decides for Ukraine without Ukraine.

Lavrov also appeared to rule out peace talks, saying it was the West which had prevented Kyiv from negotiating.

"The West decides on behalf of Ukraine. It was them who forbade Zelenskyy to reach an agreement with Russia at the end of March last year when such an agreement was ready", he claimed.

"The West decides - and decides for Ukraine without Ukraine."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long blamed the West for provoking the war in Ukraine and has justified his decision to send troops into Ukraine on 24 February by the need to “demilitarise” and “denazify” the country, and to prevent Kyiv from joining NATO.

Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected those arguments as a cover for an unprovoked act of aggression.