Zelensky peace plan claims 'raise questions' – Kremlin
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s claims that he has not received a peace proposal from Moscow “raise certain questions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
The day before, Peskov announced that Russia had sent a draft agreement to Kiev, adding that “the ball was now with the Ukrainian side.” However, later that day, Zelensky, speaking at a press conference with EU Parliament President Charles Michel, said that he “hadn’t seen anything” and “didn’t hear anything.” “I’m sure they (Moscow) didn’t give us anything,” he claimed.
The Kremlin spokesman, responding to those remarks, said that they “raise certain questions why President Zelensky was not informed about our text proposals.” Peskov added that, nevertheless, Moscow would expect the Ukrainian negotiators’ response.
“Our latest draft was handed over to… the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, so we will continue to wait for an answer,” he told the media.
Zelensky, meanwhile, on Wednesday not only said that he had not received proposals from Moscow but also commented on Peskov’s remark about the ball.
“The ball is on our side? At some point I used to play football well. There is a rule - there are two teams and there is a ball. It seems to me that he (Peskov) Is playing by himself. You can’t play with such serious things. We will definitely show how we hit the goal when we are given the ball,” – the Ukrainian leader said.
Since the launch of Russia’s military attack on Ukraine on February 24, Moscow and Kiev have held several rounds of negotiations aimed at resolving the crisis. March 29 was the last time when the two negotiating teams met in person. On April 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the talks had reached deadlock. He explained that Ukraine had refused to fulfill some of Russia’s key requests - to recognize Crimea as Russian and the Donbass republics as independent.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.