Russia says it’s ready to negotiate with Ukraine about how its demands can be met
Moscow remains ready to engage in talks with Kiev, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has confirmed. However, fulfilling Russia’s demands would be the only topic on the agenda, he said on a TV show on Sunday.
When asked whether Russia has anything it could discuss with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Peskov said: “Yes, of course, [we can talk] about how our demands will be met.”
Zelensky has recently threatened to abandon the very idea of talking to Moscow on a number of occasions. In late August, he cited a potential public “tribunal” for members of the infamous Azov regiment in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) as one of the red lines that would make any talks impossible.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.
The two sides haven’t sat down at the negotiating table since talks in Istanbul in late March. Moscow was initially optimistic about the prospects for a peace deal but later accused Kiev of torpedoing the talks. Russian officials subsequently warned that their demands would be more extensive if talks were to resume.
The Kremlin then signaled its readiness to strike a peace deal with Kiev in early August. Peskov said at the time that the two nations were close to settling their differences in a way that was acceptable to Russia back in spring. He also said Russia would still achieve the goals of its military operation even if Kiev refuses to end the conflict in a diplomatic way.
In mid-August, Ukraine ruled out any negotiations with Russia, arguing that talks would not serve Kiev’s goals. “The opportunity to win this war is much more important than any situational pause,” Zelensky’s aide, Mikhail Podoliak, said at the time.
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