© AP Photo/ Boris Grdanoski
The West sought to set up a US military base in the Black Sea and a British base in the Sea of Azov after the Minsk accords were reached, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' meeting.

"The plan was to establish a US military base in the Black Sea and a British one in the Sea of Azov. If you look at the map, you will understand that this is unacceptable [for Russia] under any circumstances," he pointed out, commenting on the West's attempts to threaten Russia's security from Ukraine with the Minsk Agreements still in place.

For years, Kiev did its best to avoid implementing the Minsk Agreements, crucial for resolving the situation in Donbass. Tensions along the line of contact reached a boiling point by February 2022 amid intense shelling attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces. On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. Several rounds of Russia-Ukraine talks took place in Belarus after the launch of the special military operation. In June 2023, Putin showed an initialed peace agreement to stop the fighting in Ukraine, which had been prepared in March 2022. Kiev, however, refused to sign it.