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29 Mar, 2024 14:22

Kremlin responds to Kiev’s plan for ‘peace formula’ talks

Ukrainian remarks about diplomatic engagement with Moscow don’t make sense, spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said
Kremlin responds to Kiev’s plan for ‘peace formula’ talks

Ukraine is contradicting itself by claiming that it could hold peace talks with Russia after a proposed summit in Switzerland later this year, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

His comments came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba suggested on Friday that Kiev could engage in diplomacy with Moscow following the Swiss-hosted peace summit, a date for which is still to be announced.

“Such a statement absolutely contradicts the codified ban on the President of Ukraine to negotiate with Russia,” Peskov said. In 2022, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky banned all talks with the current leadership in Moscow after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.

The Kremlin spokesperson also indicated that Moscow will not accept a set of rules “developed by someone else.” 

Peskov’s comments echo those by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which insisted that Moscow is open to negotiations but not on Kiev’s terms. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier this month that Russia would not attend the Swiss-hosted summit even if invited, arguing that “it will be dedicated to promoting the ‘Zelensky peace formula,’” which Moscow has panned as “absurd.” Zakharova also argued that Switzerland – which has joined Western sanctions against Moscow – “can hardly serve as a platform for various peacekeeping efforts.” 

Last month, Bern announced plans to organize a high-level Ukraine peace conference “by the summer” with a focus on Kiev’s ten-point ‘peace formula’ first floated by Zelensky in late 2022.

The initiative calls for the withdrawal of Moscow’s troops from territory Kiev claims as its own, as well as the establishment of a tribunal to prosecute top Russian officials for alleged war crimes. Russia has dismissed the proposal as “detached from reality.” 

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said last week that a final decision on the summit – including whether the event will take place at all – will come in mid-April, noting that holding two parallel conferences remains an option.