Sergei Lavrov warns Russia close to ALL-OUT-WAR with West and blames UK and US for 'plotting against Russia'

The Russian Foreign Minister said Ukraine was rejecting peace talks

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned conflict between Moscow and the West could no longer be defined as a "hybrid war", but was closer to a real one, as he blasted the West for sending billions of dollars of arms to Kyiv.

Earlier on Monday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the splits in Europe over whether to provide tanks to Kyiv showed there was increasing "nervousness" within the NATO military alliance.

Boris Johnson joins Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking to students in Kyiv
Boris Johnson joins Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking to students in Kyiv

Since the start of what Russia calls a "Special Military Operation in Ukraine" Moscow has declared four Ukrainian provinces to be part of Russia.

It says it had to act to protect Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine from persecution, and to prevent an aggressive West using Ukraine to threaten Russia.

Kyiv and Western countries say these are baseless pretexts for an imperial-style land grab in Ukraine, which was once part of the Soviet Union until its break-up in 1991.

The Russian Foreign Minister said: "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.

“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."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Lavrov told a news conference during a visit to South Africa that Ukraine was rejecting peace talks and the longer this continued, the harder it would be to resolve the conflict.

"The longer they (the Ukrainians) refuse, the harder it will be to find a solution.”

Lavrov was visiting ahead of a Russia-Africa summit in July. There was no official public comment from the Ukrainian embassy but officials said it had asked the South African government to help push a Ukrainian peace plan.

Pandor has said South Africa will not be dragged into taking sides, and has accused the West of condemning Russia while ignoring issues such as Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

"As South Africa, we consistently articulate that we will always stand ready to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the (African) continent and throughout the globe," Pandor said in earlier remarks on Monday.