Some ‘sober thinking’ left in Ukraine – Kremlin
Some Ukrainians are realistic about future relations between Russia and Ukraine, which are bound to be restored in some capacity sooner or later, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov suggested on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, Peskov said that while it was premature to talk about a diplomatic settlement of the conflict, “there are still small streams of sober thinking” in Ukraine about ties between Moscow and Kiev, despite “the flood of propaganda filled with hatred of Russia” and “efforts to brainwash the Ukrainian population.”
Relations between the two countries are “inevitable, because we are neighbors, that’s obvious,” he added.
Peskov’s comments come after Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, admitted on Thursday that an increasing number of Ukrainians would like to see diplomatic engagement with Moscow to end the conflict. According to Danilov, such thinking is a “very dangerous tendency” and one that is even shared by some people in western Ukraine, a region that for decades has traditionally been ill-disposed towards Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly said that it is open to talks with Kiev on condition that the latter recognizes the “reality on the ground,” referring to the new status of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, as part of Russia. The former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums last autumn.
However, also last autumn, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting talks with the current Russian leadership. Later, he floated a ten-point “peace formula” that would require Moscow to withdraw all of its troops from the territory Kiev claims as its own. Russia rejected the proposal, claiming that it shows Ukraine’s unwillingness to find a solution to the crisis.
In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said that while Moscow is “ready to respond to all serious proposals” to resolve the conflict, it is “the West which decides for Ukraine,” and it does not give Kiev any chance to make decisions on its own.