West to blame for world turmoil, says Russia’s Lavrov

(Reuters) – The intrigues of Western countries whose dominance is ebbing away are largely responsible for pitching the world into turmoil, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published on Thursday.

Lavrov, in a year-end interview released by the official Tass news agency, warned that no one world-wide could be certain of escaping unscathed from Western machinations in 2024.

“Storms continue in the world and one of the reasons is that the ruling circles in the West provoke crises thousands of kilometres from their borders in order to resolve their own issues at the expense of other peoples,” Tass quoted Lavrov as saying in extracts released ahead of full publication.

“It can be said that given conditions in which the West is clinging to the domination slipping away from it, no one can be protected against its geopolitical intrigues. There is a growing understanding of this.”

Moscow has come to blame the West for much of the turmoil and conflict in widely separated regions.

Russia describes its war in Ukraine as an existential struggle against the “collective West” resolved to expand the reach of NATO and inflict a “strategic defeat” on Moscow.

It also says the outbreak of conflict in the Middle East is a result of the longstanding failures of U.S. foreign policy and called for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In his comments to Tass, Lavrov called for de-escalation of the Middle East conflict, denouncing as “unacceptable” both acts of terror and “collective punishment”.

“It is vital to break the vicious cycle of violence and do away with the injustice from which several generations of Palestinians have suffered,” he was quoted as saying.

“Only by doing this can stability be achieved in the zone of confrontation in the Middle East as a whole.”

Lavrov also restated Russia’s complaint that Ukraine was unwilling to hold peace talks to end the 22-month-old conflict in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

“I must note an absence of any will for peace on the part of the regime of (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskiy,” Lavrov told Tass.

“His representatives think only in categories of war and resort to totally aggressive rhetoric. There is no consideration of holding peace talks … Draw your own conclusions.”

Zelenskiy has ruled out talks with Moscow until it withdraws from territories it has occupied since its February 2022 full-scale invasion – estimated to be about 17.5 % of its territory.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Stephen Coates)