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23 Feb, 2024 08:03

Kiev’s sponsors should hold ‘discreet’ talks with Moscow – Ukrainian ambassador

Engaging in such discussions wouldn’t mean that the West is giving up on its interests, Andrey Melnik said
Kiev’s sponsors should hold ‘discreet’ talks with Moscow – Ukrainian ambassador

Kiev’s foreign backers should contact Russia behind the scenes to find out its conditions for peace with Ukraine, former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik, who now represents the country in Brazil, has said.

In an interview with the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, Melnik was asked to comment on a poll which revealed that, given the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year and gains by Russian forces in recent months, 64% of Germans now believe that Kiev has lost the conflict with Moscow.

The diplomat called the results of the survey “bitter” and acknowledged that “our partners have the right to say: ‘okay, we tried, we helped, but now it doesn't work anymore.’” However, he insisted that Ukraine’s defeat would “be a threat to Germany’s security.” According to Melnik, Berlin must now focus on what else it can do to help Kiev, including supplying “Taurus [missiles], fighter jets, more anti-aircraft defenses and ammunition.”

The ambassador suggested that considering how things stand at the moment, “it would at least be wise if our allies could discreetly contact Moscow to find out whether there’s real willingness to compromise. Under what conditions and guarantees, for example, would the Russians be ready to withdraw from the occupied territories.”

“It’s not about lazy compromises or restoring a false calm on the global stage, but about leaving no stone unturned,” he said, adding that “conducting exploratory talks doesn’t mean giving up one’s interests.”

At the same time, Melnik claimed “the Russians have done everything they can to destroy trust. From Ukraine’s point of view, it is impossible to forge a deal.”

“Nevertheless, our partners, including in the Global South, should use their diplomacy to end the war this year,” he stressed.

Melnik was removed from the post of Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany in summer 2022 after a series of scandals. Notably, he called German Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liver sausage” and told Elon Musk to “f**k off” on social media.

“I might’ve been able to do my job less passionately from time to time so as not to offend some people,” he acknowledged. The diplomat explained that his harsh tone was justified by the need to put pressure on the government in Berlin to provide more aid to Ukraine in the first month of the conflict with Russia.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Brazil’s Globo newspaper on Wednesday that Moscow remains open to a diplomatic solution in Ukraine, but “neither Kiev nor the West demonstrate the political will to settle the conflict.” In these circumstances, Russia has no other choice but to keep pursuing its goals on the battlefield, he stressed.

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