Ukraine needs to face ‘reality’ – Kremlin
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia can start only after Kiev changes its stance and creates the conditions necessary for such contacts, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
Talks can and will happen, if Russia sees that it can achieve its goals through means other than military action, but this is not the case now, the official told outlet RBK on Monday.
“In any case, the Kiev regime will have to start this conversation from recognizing the reality that has come into being since Kiev… rejected the resolution of issues through peaceful means,” he said, when asked what the Ukrainian government could do.
He added that the draft truce agreement, which Russia and Ukraine almost adopted last year during Turkish-mediated talks and which Kiev then dropped, was proof that Moscow was willing to negotiate. Peskov was responding to recent claims to the contrary by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has consistently rejected negotiations with Russia, until his country achieves the goal of ousting Russian troops from all territory that Kiev claims under its sovereignty. The no-talks policy was enshrined in a law that he signed last year.
Crimea broke away from Ukraine after a Western-backed 2014 coup in Kiev and rejoined Russia the same year. Four other former Ukrainian regions – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye Region and Kherson Region – did the same last year amid the hostilities.
Kiev has insisted that the so-called “Zelensky peace formula” which requires the return of all territories, reparations from Russia and a trial of the Russian leadership, is the only path to a “just” resolution of the conflict.
Senior Russian officials have described Kiev’s demands as detached from reality and have suggested that his government is not at liberty to accept peace talks. Moscow perceives the Ukraine conflict as a US-led proxy war against Russia, which Western nations intend to pursue “to the last Ukrainian.”
Kiev relies on Western aid to arm and supply its military and to pay a large portion of its government expenses. Zelensky claimed in an interview with The Economist last week that despite public assurances of support by Western leaders, he inferred that some of them were increasingly in favor of reducing the volume of assistance.