There was optimism from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavorv that a peace deal in Ukraine could be within grasp. But the minister, speaking during a debate at the security conference in Munich also pointed the finger at the US and Europe. “At every stage in the developing crises in Ukraine, our American colleagues, and under their influence – the European Union, took steps that led to the escalation of the situation. This was the case when the EU refused to discuss, with Russia, the consequences of the introduction of the economic bloc of the Association agreement with Ukraine. Then the coup d’etat received direct support, and prior to that the anti-government protests,” he said.
Lavrov met his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the conference. In his criticism of the west the Russian foreign minister also questioned NATO’s plans to reinforce its Rapid Reaction Force, announced earlier this week.