Kyiv: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday gave Ukraine an ultimatum to meet Moscow’s proposals, including ceding Russian-controlled territory or its military would decide the issue, a day after President Vladimir Putin said he was open to talks.
Kyiv and its Western allies have rejected Putin’s offer to talk, with his forces beating Ukrainian cities with missiles and rockets and Moscow continuing to demand that Kyiv recognize its conquest of a fifth of the country.
Kyiv says it will fight until Russia withdraws.
“Our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the territories controlled by the regime, the elimination of threats to the security of Russia emanating from them, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy,” said the official TASS news agency, citing Lavrov. Monday.
“The point is simple: fulfill them for your own good. Otherwise, the matter will be decided by the Russian military.”
Cheese fries launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special operation” to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine, which he said posed a threat to Russia. Kyiv and the West say Putin’s invasion was just an imperialist land grab.
As the war entered its eleventh month, Russian forces were engaged in heavy fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine after embarrassing setbacks on the battlefield.
On Monday, a suspected Ukrainian drone penetrated hundreds of miles into Russian airspace, causing a deadly explosion at Moscow’s main strategic bomber base in the latest attack aimed at exposing gaps in its air defenses.
A suspected drone hit the same base on December 5.
Moscow said on Monday it shot down the drone, causing it to crash into Engels Air Base, where three servicemen were killed. Ukraine made no comment, in accordance with its usual policy on incidents inside Russia.
The base, the main bomber airfield that Kyiv says Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, is hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian border. The same planes are also designed to launch nuclear-capable missiles as part of Russia’s long-term strategic deterrence.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that no planes were damaged, but Russian and Ukrainian social media accounts said several were destroyed. Reuters was unable to independently verify the information.
FORMER SOVIET STATES MEET
Putin hosted the leaders of other former Soviet states in St. Petersburg on Monday for a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States group, which Ukraine has long left.
In televised remarks, Putin made no direct reference to the war, while saying that threats to the security and stability of the Eurasian region were increasing.
“Unfortunately, the challenges and threats in this area, especially from outside, are only growing every year,” he said.
“We must also unfortunately recognize that disagreements also arise between Commonwealth member states.”
The invasion of Ukraine was a test of Russia’s longstanding authority among other ex-Soviet states.
Fighting has increased in recent months between CIS members Armenia and Azerbaijan in a conflict where Russia has sent peacekeepers, while a border dispute has erupted between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Putin said such disagreements should be resolved through “help from comrades and mediating action”.
NINE MILLION WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Monday that the situation at the front in the Donbass region was “difficult and painful” and required all “strength and concentration” of the country.
He said that due to Russia’s targeting of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, nearly nine million people were without power. This figure represents about a quarter of the Ukrainian population.
Since the invasion, Ukraine has driven Russian forces from the north, defeated them on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv, and forced the Russians to retreat to the east and south. But Moscow still controls swaths of land to the east and south that Putin claims he annexed.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians died in towns razed by Russia and thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed, forcing Putin to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists for the first time since World War II.

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