Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Kremlin will continue to pursue a military solution to the war until the Ukrainian government capitulates to Russia’s demands, the Institute for the Study of War reported. In a Dec. 27 interview with Russian state-owned news agency TASS, Lavrov said that Ukraine and the West are “well aware of Russia’s proposals on the demilitarization and denazification” of Ukrainian-controlled territory and that the Russian military will settle these issues if Ukraine refuses to accept their proposals.
Russian demands for “demilitarization” aim to eliminate Ukraine’s ability to resist further Russian attacks, while the demands for “denazification” are tantamount to calls for regime change in Ukraine. Lavrov added that Ukraine and the U.S. must recognize Russia’s seizure of occupied Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts.
Lavrov’s invocation of a military settlement for the war in Ukraine that achieves Russia’s original war aims follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deliberately vague statements that Russia is open for negotiations on Dec. 25. ISW assessed that Putin’s comments were not an offer to negotiate with Ukraine and indicated that he had not set serious conditions for negotiations.