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11 Apr, 2024 13:17

Ukraine peace talks ‘pointless’ without Russia – Kremlin

Moscow has refused to take part in a planned international peace conference in Switzerland
Ukraine peace talks ‘pointless’ without Russia – Kremlin

Any negotiations to settle the conflict in Ukraine would have no value without Russia’s participation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said, commenting on a conference scheduled to be held in Switzerland in June.

The talks will reportedly be based on a peace plan discussed by Russia and Ukraine in March 2022 in Istanbul. Moscow previously announced it would not take part in the event.

According to Peskov, the geopolitical situation has changed “drastically” since 2022, and it would be “short-sighted” not to account for those changes during any potential talks. Overall, Moscow is open to negotiations, he added.

The Russian leadership has argued that the gathering will merely promote Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, which demands that Moscow withdraw from all territories that Kiev claims as its own.

Moscow has rejected the demands as a non-starter, with Dmitry Peskov stressing on Wednesday that “everyone” must take into account that Russia has gained new regions. He was referring to four former Ukrainian territories that overwhelmingly voted to join the country in the autumn of 2022. Russia has also repeatedly stressed that it will not surrender Crimea.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis admitted on Wednesday that no meaningful peace process can take place without Russia. The diplomat acknowledged that Moscow will have to be involved “sooner or later, but not necessarily from day one,” suggesting that the first conference may focus on “exactly how to invite Russia and what role to give it”.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last month that before any talks can begin, Kiev must lift its ban on negotiations with the current Russian leadership that was introduced in October 2022.