West trying to prolong fighting in Ukraine to weaken Russia: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the United States and its European allies are trying to prolong fighting in Ukraine in order to weaken Russia.
The countries in question are "pumping Ukraine full of weapons, [and] training their soldiers,” the Russian top diplomat told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday.
According to Press TV, he added they are doing so to “drag out the fighting as long as possible in spite of the victims in order to wear down and weaken Russia."
Russia began a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, saying it was aimed at “demilitarizing” the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, which is made up of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
Back in 2014, the two republics broke away from Ukraine, refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government there that had overthrown a democratically-elected administration.
Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was meant to “defend people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”
Lavrov affirmed that “the decision to conduct a special military operation was inevitable.”
His American counterpart Antony Blinken, however, alleged that Moscow had "shredded" international norms by waging the operation.
Blinken also accused Putin of making "reckless nuclear threats."
The accusation came a day after the Russian president said, "If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people - this is not a bluff," asserting that Russia had "lots of weapons to reply."
Blinken's allegation came, although, the Russian head of state had neither made any mention of the unconventional weapons or threatened their deployment.
Ukraine has targeted the Russian territory on many occasions, using long-range weapons that have been supplied to it by the West.
Also on Thursday, Lavrov slammed the West for its silence on crimes committed by Ukrainian forces during the conflict, noting Kiev owes its impunity to Western states, specifically the US.