Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to a question during a news conference, after his meeting with Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe in Moscow, Russia, May 17, 2011. AP
Russia's foreign minister said that Moscow is ready for talks to end the fighting in Ukraine but will continue to press its effort to destroy Ukraine's military infrastructure, adding that "I am sure that a solution to the crisis over Ukraine will be found, and Russia's demands are few."
Lavrov said that the West has continuously armed Ukraine, trained its troops and built up bases there to turn Ukraine into a bulwark against Russia.
"Russia is ready for dialogue with Western countries only on the basis of taking into account each other's interests, and to talk about the possibility of a nuclear war being prepared, but not by Russia, but by NATO and Ukraine," he added.
Lavrov said that the Russian delegation submitted its demands to Ukrainian negotiators earlier this week and is now waiting for Kyiv's response in talks set for Thursday.
Russian and Ukrainian delegations will hold a second round of peace negotiations in Belarus on Thursday in the Belarusian Brest region, Russsian news agency Sputnik reports.
"The objectives of the special military operation in Ukraine are clear and will continue even during negotiations," Lavrov said.
"Peace agreements between Russia and Ukraine must include a mandatory clause on the destruction of weapons that threaten Moscow," he added.
The US and its allies have insisted that NATO is a defensive alliance that does not pose a threat to Russia, which Lavrov strongly rejected, saying that the West has turned Ukraine into a "bridgehead for undermining everything that is Russian.''