Ukraine Recap: Russia Says ‘Let’s Decide It on the Battlefield’

(Bloomberg) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Ukrainian proposals for restoring its pre-invasion territory “unrealizable” and said that if Ukraine’s allies want war, they can have it. Lavrov’s comment jibes with a view taking hold among Ukraine’s allies that the war is likely to go on for years.

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“If you insist on the battlefield, OK, let’s decide it on the battlefield,” Lavrov said at a news conference at the United Nations, days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denounced Russia’s “criminal” war in a speech to the General Assembly. Lavrov renewed long-standing Russian claims that the West was to blame for the war, which erupted into a full-scale conflict with Russia’s invasion last year. He also said a UN proposal to revive a deal to allow safe passage for Ukrainian grain exports wouldn’t work.

Australia supported Zelenskiy’s call to constrain Russia’s veto power on the UN Security Council. Russia “mocks the UN every day it continues its illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a General Assembly speech.

Zelenskiy stopped in Lublin, Poland, on the way back from North America to present Ukrainian state awards to two Poles, a journalist and a volunteer. While his visit signaled a step toward improving relations after the two neighbors clashed over trade, no Polish government representatives attended. Ukrainian forces targeted the port city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea with a missile attack on Saturday, a day after striking Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters there on Friday.

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--With assistance from Volodymyr Verbyany and Konrad Krasuski.

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