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.”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington had “very little confidence” that Russia was making a legitimate offer to talk because Lavrov’s comments came within hours of Russian missile strikes that killed civilians in Ukraine.

“We see this as posturing. We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression,” Price said during a regular press briefing.

Talks to end the war would ultimately have to be between Ukraine and Russia, Price added.

“If the Russians want to signal that they are serious about dialogue and diplomacy… perhaps a good first step would be to stop the kind of brutal assault followed by what appeared to be nothing more than empty words,” he said.

Lavrov 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.

“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.