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LONDON: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow was open to talks with the West on the Ukraine war but had yet to receive any serious proposal to negotiate.

In an interview on state TV, Lavrov said Russia was willing to engage with the United States or with Turkey on ways to end the war, now in its eight month.

His emphasis on Russia’s receptiveness to talks came after a series of stinging defeats since the start of September that have swung the momentum of the conflict in favour of Ukraine.

Lavrov said officials including White House national security spokesman John Kirby had said the United States was open to talks but that Russia had refused.

“This is a lie,” Lavrov said. “We have not received any serious offers to make contact.”

He also said Russia would not turn down a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden at a mid-November summit of the Group of 20 in Indonesia, and would consider the proposal if it receives one.

G7 to hold crisis talks on Russia’s bombing blitz in Ukraine

“We have repeatedly said that we never refuse meetings. If there is a proposal, then we will consider it,” Lavrov said.

Commenting on the possibility that Turkey could host talks between Russia and the West, Lavrov said Moscow would be willing to listen to any suggestions but could not say in advance whether this would lead to results.

He said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would have an opportunity to put proposals to Russian President Vladimir Putin when both visit Kazakhstan this week.

Lavrov noted that direct talks between Russia and Ukraine had broken down at the end of March. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ruled out talking to Putin after Russia claimed the annexation last month of four Ukrainian regions that it partly occupies.

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