Russia's Lavrov says Moscow wants Ukrainian people to be independent

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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Syria's Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in Moscow, Russia February 21, 2022. Alexander Nemenov /Pool via REUTERS

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MOSCOW, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Russia wants the Ukrainian people to be independent and have the possibility to freely define their destiny, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Lavrov said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was lying when he said he was ready to discuss the neutral status of Ukraine.

Lavrov also said Russia will ensure the demilitarisation of Ukraine but sees no possibility of recognising the current Ukrainian government as democratic.

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Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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