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Lavrov says Russian aim is to overthrow Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands at the podium during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands at the podium during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)

Russia appears to reverse itself after the country’s top diplomat says Moscow’s overarching goal is to topple the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The remark from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov comes amid Ukraine’s efforts to resume grain exports from its Black Sea ports, something that would help ease global food shortages, under a new deal tested by a Russian strike on Odesa over the weekend.

Speaking to envoys at an Arab League summit in Cairo late yesterday, Lavrov says Moscow is determined to help Ukrainians “liberate themselves from the burden of this absolutely unacceptable regime.”

Lavrov accuses Kyiv and “its Western allies” of spouting propaganda intended to ensure that Ukraine “becomes the eternal enemy of Russia.”

“Russian and Ukrainian people would continue to live together, we will certainly help Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical,” he says.

Lavrov’s remarks contrasted sharply with the Kremlin’s line early in the war, when Russian officials repeatedly emphasized that they weren’t seeking to overthrow Zelensky’s government.

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