Peace talks without Russia have no value – Moscow
Any talks on a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine conflict that do not include Moscow are pointless, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has insisted, referring to a recent summit in Saudi Arabia.
The talks on Ukraine were held in the city of Jeddah on August 5 and 6. Senior officials from more than 40 countries took part in the discussions, including the US, the UK, and the EU. Russia’s partners from the BRICS group – Brazil, India, China and South Africa – were also present at the event, along with many nations that have chosen neutrality in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Russia, however, was not invited to attend the gathering.
Zakharova said on Monday that Moscow had taken note of the talks, reiterating that Russia rejects Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, which “the Kiev regime and the West are trying to promote during such meetings.” The initiative demands that Russia withdraw all its troops from territory that Kiev claims, and face prosecution for alleged war crimes.
According to the spokeswoman, this plan amounts to “a useless ultimatum to Russia which is aimed at prolonging hostilities.”
“No peaceful settlement can be reached on this basis,” she told a press briefing.
According to the diplomat, by promoting Zelensky’s formula, Kiev and the West are trying to downplay other peace initiatives and monopolize the right to propose them in the first place.
While reiterating that Moscow – unlike Kiev – is open to a diplomatic solution and ready to respond to “really serious offers,” she stressed that “without Russia’s participation and without taking into account its interests, no meeting on the Ukraine crisis has any added value.”
Zakharova stated that sustainable peace in Ukraine could only be achieved if “the Kiev regime ceases hostilities and terrorist attacks” while its Western backers stop supplying it with weapons.
Kiev should also pledge to remain a neutral country, refuse to regain its nuclear status, and recognize a “new territorial reality,” she added, referring to the four former Ukrainian regions that overwhelmingly voted to join Russia last autumn.
Meanwhile, Andrey Ermak, a top aide to Zelensky, also commented on the Jeddah talks. He said the diplomats had “very productive consultations” about the key principles of the peace settlement, while several media outlets reported that the participants had stressed the need to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and agreed to continue contacts on the matter.
At the same time, the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed officials, reported that Kiev had shifted its stance on the peace settlement and didn’t push for Zelensky’s peace plan to be accepted. Kiev and “the major developing countries appeared keener to seek out a consensus,” the paper claimed.