Kiev’s terms for talks ‘unrealistic’ – Moscow
Kiev’s conditions for the commencement of peace talks with Moscow are “unrealistic and inadequate,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told journalists at the G20 summit. Moscow, however, is not refusing to negotiate, he added.
Lavrov, who is representing Russia at the high-profile gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali, said he had a brief conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier on Tuesday. During this exchange, the French leader “confirmed his willingness to continue contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin to find some agreements that would allow this whole situation to be settled, as he put it,” Lavrov said in a comment to RT’s correspondent.
“I reminded [Macron] that all the problems are on the Ukrainian side, which categorically refuses any talks and puts forward conditions that are invariably unrealistic and inadequate, considering the situation,” the foreign minister said.
Commenting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s video address to the G20 summit, Lavrov said it was full of “militant, Russophobic and aggressive rhetoric.”
“I’ve made only one conclusion from his speech: that he’s still not listening to any advice from the West,” the Russian diplomat said.
Lavrov was likely referring to recent reports that Washington has been privately pushing Kiev to drop its uncompromising rejection of the peace process with Moscow. Also, last week, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that a Ukrainian victory may not be achievable militarily and that winter could provide an opportunity to begin talks with Russia.
“We’ve repeatedly, through the statements of our president, confirmed that we don’t refuse negotiations, if anyone does so, it’s Ukraine. And the longer it refuses to talk, the more difficult it’ll be to find common ground,” Lavrov stated.
In his video address earlier on Tuesday, Zelensky told the G20 leaders that he was “convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped.”
While signaling Ukraine’s willingness to talk, he also stated that his country “shouldn’t be offered compromises with its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence” to achieve peace.
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Zelensky’s address “absolutely confirms” the unwillingness of Kiev to look for a settlement of the conflict at the negotiating table.