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27 Dec, 2022 09:47

Moscow responds to Kiev’s ‘peace summit’ idea

Such an event would be viable without Ukraine, but not Russia, a top diplomat has said
Moscow responds to Kiev’s ‘peace summit’ idea

Kiev's proposal for a so-called “peace summit” would be unworkable if Russia would not be invited, Moscow’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said on Tuesday.

Writing on Telegram, the diplomat referred to an idea floated by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba on Monday to hold such an event under the auspices of the UN by the end of February, to mark the anniversary of Russia’s military operation against Ukraine. The office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he was ready to mediate talks, but only if all parties agree.

However, Kuleba also demanded that before Moscow be allowed to join at the negotiating table, it should face an “international court” and be prosecuted for its alleged war crimes.

Polyansky also pushed back against an allegation put forth by Kiev that Russia had become a member of the UN Security Council and the UN in general “illegally.” He denounced such statements as “nonsense,” which nobody pays attention to.

“If you try to combine these two pieces of news, they are mutually exclusive. What ‘peace summit’ could be without Russia?” he asked, adding, however, that it is not difficult to imagine such an event taking place without Ukraine.

The Russian diplomat described such an eventuality as “a nightmare scenario” for Ukrainian officials, who, by spearheading such initiatives as a peace summit without Russia, actually make such an outcome more probable.

The idea of a ‘Global Peace Summit’ was suggested by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier this month. According to the Ukrainian leader, it should focus on a ten-point “peace formula” that he drew up. This includes the restoration of Ukraine’s “territorial integrity,” the withdrawal of Russian troops, an “all for all” prisoner swap, as well as a tribunal for those Kiev accuses of aggression.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that the Kremlin is still open to talks over Ukraine, adding that it is Kiev who is refusing to negotiate. Moscow has also insisted that Ukraine must “recognize the reality on the ground,” including the new status of the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye as parts of Russia, as a prerequisite for any peace talks.