Russia never gave up on Ukraine peace talks – Putin
Russia has never rejected peace talks with Ukraine, whereas Kiev has publicly withdrawn from the negotiation process, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his online address to an extraordinary G20 summit on Wednesday.
Speaking via video link, the Russian leader responded to comments made by other speakers to the conference who said they were “shocked” by Russia’s continued "aggression" in Ukraine. Putin admitted that, like any military conflict, it is a “tragedy for specific people, specific families and for the country as a whole” and stated that “naturally, we must think about how to end this tragedy.”
Putin stressed, however, that Russia has never turned down any peace talks with Ukraine and that it was in fact Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky who signed a decree legally forbidding any such negotiations with Russia. Last year, the Ukrainian leader formally outlawed any peace talks with the Kremlin as long as Putin is the president of Russia.
Putin went on to state that while he understands the “shock” brought about by the conflict, he questioned why there was no such reaction to the “bloody coup in Ukraine in 2014, followed by the war of the Kiev regime against its people in Donbass” or to the “extermination of the civilian population in Palestine,” and the UN secretary-general’s admission that Gaza has turned into a children’s graveyard.
The Russian president's statement comes after Zelensky admitted on Tuesday that Kiev’s failure to achieve any significant battlefield success in its much-touted counteroffensive operation was sending “not a good message” to Ukraine’s Western backers, who have already spent billions of dollars on military and financial aid to Kiev.
Speaking to Fox News, the Ukrainian leader also confessed that the conflict with Russia could perhaps be stopped if Kiev conceded Donbass and Crimea, but insisted that Ukraine is “not ready” for such a peace plan.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that its latest estimates put Kiev’s losses at over 13,700 troops in November alone. Last month, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed that since the start of Kiev’s counteroffensive, Ukraine’s forces had lost more than 90,000 troops.