Lavrov: Russia ready to negotiate if Ukraine lays down arms

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is ready for negotiations if Ukraine “lays down arms”.

In a press conference one day after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “If the Ukrainian army forces respond our call and lay down their weapons, we are ready for negotiations at any time.”

The Russian Foreign Minister claimed that Russia’s goal is to “liberate the Ukrainians”. However, experts say that Russia is intending to overthrow the current government.

“President (Vladimir) Putin has decided to announce this special military operation to demilitarize and de-nazify Ukraine and when the Ukrainians get rid of the oppression, they can freely shape their future,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov argued that Russia was not invading Ukraine. “The purpose of the operation is clear: Disarmament and de-Nazification,” he added.

The Russian army announced that it had destroyed 74 military facilities 11 of which were aerial domains and 18 air defence radar systems on the first day of the war.

According to Ukrainian officials and western military sources, Russian forces are advancing towards the capital, Kiev overland. Explosions were heard throughout the night in the capital.

The Ukrainian army said on its Facebook page that Russian troops were advancing towards Kiev from the north-east and east.

Russian forces also took control of Chernobyl, where the worst nuclear disaster in history took place in 1986.

The Kremlin announced that they would respond “symmetrically or asymmetrically” to the Western sanctions against the country.

In the meantime, more than 1800 activists were detained during anti-war protests in Russia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.