He also claimed that Russia did not "refuse negotiations" with Kyiv and was willing to negotiate a settlement but that Washington and NATO allies were not in favor of that.
Lavrov made his remarks during a visit to South Africa, saying essentially what President Vladimir Putin said last year -- that his nation was ready to sit down at the negotiating table but Ukraine's allies in the West would not support it.
The U.S. and other Western nations have said that Russia is not serious about negotiations to end the war, set to mark its one-year anniversary next month. Lavrov also warned the war between Russia and the West is no longer hybrid but is 'almost a real one', as he blasted Ukraine's allies for sending weapons to the war-torn country.
Western nations have pledged to send billions of pounds worth of arms to Kyiv and Poland's prime minister said today his government would ask Germany for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine – and planned to send them whether or not Berlin agreed.
"When we speak about what is happening in Ukraine – it is a war, not a hybrid one, almost a real war, that the West has been plotting for a long time against Russia," Lavrov said.
"The goal is to destroy everything Russian, from language to culture, that has been in Ukraine for centuries and to prohibit people from speaking their mother tongue," he added.
It should be said that Ukraine is an independent country and its people can do what they choose for themselves, not what another country chooses for them.
The Russian diplomat went on to say that his country was not responsible for negotiations not taking place earlier.
"It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict," he said. "It is well known and was published openly that our American, British, and some European colleagues told Ukraine that it is too early to deal, and the arrangement which was almost agreed was never revisited by the Kyiv regime.
"But those who refuse must understand that the longer they refuse, the more difficult it is to find a solution," he noted.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been pleading for more support from the U.S. and European nations, especially in the form of armor so his forces can mount offensives aimed at pushing the Russians back to their own country. That includes asking for German-made Leopard 2 tanks. And it appears now that he will get them.
"Germany on Tuesday not only signed off on Poland’s request to export German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine — Berlin also will donate its own small batch of the world-class tanks," Forbes reported this week. "And now the Leopard 2s could pile up fast. Norway on Tuesday followed Germany’s and Poland’s leads and pledged surplus Leopard 2s."
The decision by German chancellor Olaf Scholz came after the leader agonized over it for weeks while being prodded not only by Ukraine but by the U.S. and other NATO allies as well.
"As pressure mounted—from Poland, mostly—German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock last weekend said Germany wouldn’t veto Poland’s pledge of at least one company of 14 or so Leopard 2s. Scholz quickly walked back Baerbock’s words, only to walk back the walk-back a few days later—and then tack on an additional company of Leopard 2s from German stocks," Forbes noted further.
The one wildcard here is Russia's nuclear weapons: Will Putin order a nuclear attack to save face from what now appears to be a certain stalemate, if not outright defeat, on the one-year anniversary of his invasion?