Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov castigated Ukraine’s proposed 10-point peace plan and spurned a revival of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, calling both “not realistic.”
Lavrov addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday at the annual gathering of world leaders at U.N. headquarters in New York. In a week of global diplomacy, Ukraine and its Western allies sought to rally support for Kyiv on its defensive war against Russian aggression.
“It is completely not feasible,” Lavrov said of the peace plan initiated by Kyiv. “It is not possible to implement this. It’s not realistic and everybody understands this, but at the same time, they say this is the only basis for negotiations.”
Lavrov said the conflict would be resolved on the battlefield if Kyiv and the West persisted in that position.
Lavrov also said Moscow left the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was allowing for safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural exports, because promises made to Russia had not been fulfilled.
He said the latest U.N. proposals to revive that export corridor also were “simply not realistic.”
Ukraine attacks Sevastopol
Meanwhile, Ukraine targeted the Crimean-occupied city of Sevastopol on Saturday morning, leaving the city of 500,000 under an air alert for about an hour after debris from intercepted missiles fell near a pier, the Russian-installed regional governor Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on the messaging app Telegram.
It was the second missile assault in as many days after Friday’s Ukrainian strike on the headquarters of Russia’s navy in Crimea that reportedly left dozens dead and wounded, including senior fleet commanders.
In an interview Friday with VOA’s Ukrainian Service, Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said at least nine people were killed and 16 were injured, among them, were Russian generals.
“Among the wounded is the commander of the group, Colonel-General [Alexander] Romanchuk, in a very serious condition. The chief of staff, Lieutenant General [Oleg] Tsekov, is comatose,” he said.
Alexander Romanchuk is the commander of a group of Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region and was promoted to the rank of colonel-general in 2023. Lieutenant-General Oleg Tsekov is the commander of the 200 OMSBR Coastal Forces of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy.
Budanov did not confirm reports about the alleged death of the commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, Admiral Viktor Sokolov.
Budanov’s claims could not be independently verified.
Counteroffensive makes gains, says think tank
Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea in recent weeks, while its counteroffensive makes slow gains in the east and south of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said Thursday.
Military experts say it is essential for Ukraine to maintain its attacks on targets in Crimea to degrade Russian morale and weaken its military.
The attack came a day after Russia pounded cities across Ukraine with missiles and artillery strikes, killing at least five people.
Russia’s most prestigious airborne regiments experience “extreme attrition and high turnover” rates in Russia’s deployed military, including its senior ranks, the British Defense Ministry said Saturday in its daily intelligence update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Three successive commanders of the 247th Guards Air Assault Landing Regiment have either resigned or been killed, it said. First, Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky, a unit commander, was killed near the beginning of the Russian invasion. Then, Colonel Vasily Popov was “likely killed” in the “heavily contested Orikhiv sector,” early this month, according to the intelligence report.
Colonel Pytor Popov “likely resigned” his command of the 247th in August, the report said, after protesting the military’s failure to recover the bodies of Russian casualties.
‘We keep giving them hell’
Meanwhile, Ukrainian commanders told Reuters on Saturday that their use of heavy weapons provided by the West in the fierce battle raging on the outskirts of Bakhmut is inflicting significant damage on enemy lines.
Ukrainian troops said the Western-supplied 155-millimeter howitzers were key to capturing the village of Klishchiivka last week.
Unit commander Oleksandr said Ukrainian armed forces “very much rely” on heavy artillery, including the Polish-made Krab gun and the U.S.-made M109 self-propelled howitzer.
“Even one gun can completely turn the situation around. An attack can be stopped with one such gun,” he said.
“They [the Russians] hate our hardware. That’s what we gather from our intercepts. We hear that we keep giving them hell and they keep wondering how much ammunition we have left,” he said.
Ukrainian commanders have described the gains by Ukrainian forces of the villages of Klischiivka and nearby Andriivka as steppingstones to taking back Bakhmut, which fell to the Russians after months of some of the war’s heaviest fighting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and senior officials have praised the advances and defied Western commentary that the counteroffensive is progressing too slowly.
Ostap Yarish of VOA’s Ukrainian Service contributed to this story. Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.