Russian foreign minister gives Ukraine ultimatum over 4 occupied regions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Ukraine must fulfil Moscow’s proposals regarding their “new territories” — or the Russian military would take action, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

“The enemy is well aware of our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the regime-controlled territories and the elimination of threats to Russian security from there, including our new territories (the DNR, LNR, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions),” Lavrov said, repeating false accusations of Nazism against Ukraine used by Moscow in an attempt to justify its invasion.
“There is just one thing left to do: to fulfill them before it’s too late. Otherwise the Russian army will take matters into its own hands.
“With regard to the duration of the conflict, the ball is now in the court of Washington and its regime. They can stop this futile resistance at any moment.”

The four occupied territories: Russia claimed control over the four regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson after sham referendums in September, widely slammed by Kyiv and Western governments as violating international law.

But Russia has struggled with setbacks in these areas from the start — Moscow’s forces were not in full control of the territories when they were rubber-stamped as part of the Russian Federation.

Just weeks after illegally annexing Kherson, Ukraine reclaimed its regional capital with the same name, liberating about 10,000 square kilometers of land and moving its Western-supplied artillery within range of Crimea.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the situation in the four occupied territories was “extremely complicated,” a rare window into the challenges that Moscow faces in areas it has attempted to illegally annex.

This post has been updated to more accurately reflect Lavrov’s comments.

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