Russia says talks still possible ahead of Scholz's trip to Moscow

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By AP & Euronews
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.   -  Copyright  Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian officials suggested on Monday that diplomacy remains an option in the current Ukraine crisis ahead of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's trip to Moscow.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin that Moscow should hold more talks with the US and its allies despite their refusal to consider Russia's main security demands.

The talks "can’t go on indefinitely, but I would suggest to continue and expand them at this stage," Lavrov said at an appearance for TV cameras with Putin on Monday.

The US and its allies have warned that Russian troops could invade Ukraine at any time with countries evacuating diplomats and relocating embassies after Russia amassed 130,000 troops on Ukraine's borders.

Moscow denies it has any plans to invade Ukraine but wants Western guarantees that NATO won’t allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to join as members.

It also wants NATO to halt weapon deployments to Ukraine and roll back its forces in Eastern Europe.

Putin's intentions are still unknown but Lavrov said on Monday that possibilities for talks “are far from being exhausted."

Putin noted the West could try to draw Russia into “endless talks” without conclusive results and questioned whether there was still a chance to reach agreement on Moscow's key demands. Lavrov replied that his ministry wouldn't allow the US and its allies to stonewall Russia's main requests.

Western countries have urged Russia to show signs of de-escalation, promising serious consequences for Russia.

Scholz reiterated that message in Kyiv on Monday, stating that "further military aggression against Ukraine would have serious political, economic and geostrategic consequences for Russia."