Russia: Our Goal Is to Oust Zelensky

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says administration of Zelensky is an 'absolutely unacceptable regime'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 25, 2022 8:04 AM CDT
Russia: Our Goal Is to Oust Zelensky
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gestures during a joint news conference with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, following their talks in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, July 24, 2022.   (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

(Newser) – Russia's top diplomat said Moscow’s overarching goal is to topple the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reports the AP, making Russian war aims more explicit as its forces keep pummeling Ukraine with artillery barrages and airstrikes. The remark from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov comes amid Ukraine's efforts to resume grain exports from its Black Sea ports, something that would help ease global food shortages, under a new deal tested by a Russian strike on Odesa over the weekend. Speaking to envoys at an Arab League summit in Cairo late Sunday, Lavrov said Moscow is determined to help Ukrainians “liberate themselves from the burden of this absolutely unacceptable regime.” Lavrov accused Kyiv and “its Western allies" of spouting propaganda intended to ensure that Ukraine “becomes the eternal enemy of Russia."

“Russian and Ukrainian people would continue to live together, we will certainly help Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical,” he said. Lavrov’s remarks contrasted sharply with the Kremlin's line early in the war, when Russian officials repeatedly emphasized that they weren’t seeking to overthrow Zelensky’s government. Lavrov argued that Russia was ready to negotiate a deal to end hostilities in March when Kyiv changed tack and declared its intention to rout Russia on the battlefield, adding that the West has encouraged Ukraine to keep fighting. “The West insists that Ukraine must not start negotiations until Russia is defeated on the battlefield,” Lavrov said.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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