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13 Mar, 2024 11:09

Putin outlines terms for peace talks with Ukraine

Negotiations should be based on reality rather than “wants,” the Russian president has said
Putin outlines terms for peace talks with Ukraine

Russia is ready for peace talks to end the Ukraine conflict, but Moscow is looking for meaningful dialogue that would provide security guarantees for the country and wants to be sure that negotiations will not serve as a break to rearm Kiev, President Vladimir Putin has said.

He was answering a question about Russia’s readiness to resume negotiations in an interview with journalist Dmitry Kiselyov on Wednesday. Putin said Moscow was open to talks.

“Are we ready for negotiations? Yes, we are ready, but we are only ready for serious negotiations, not those based on wish-lists conjured up after the use of psychotropic drugs, but based on ... the realities,” he explained.

It would be “ridiculous” to negotiate now “just because they [Ukraine] are running out of ammunition,” Putin noted, apparently referring to waning support from the US, Kiev’s main backer, as a $60 billion American aid package to Ukraine has stalled in the US Congress.

We are, however, ready for a serious conversation, and we want to resolve all conflicts, especially this conflict, through peaceful means. But we must clearly understand that this is not a pause that the enemy wants to take for rearmament, but this is a serious conversation with security guarantees for the Russian Federation.

Former Ukrainian president Pytor Poroshenko and ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both admitted that the Minsk Agreements brokered with Moscow in 2014 were specifically used to allow Kiev re-arm its forces in the aftermath of the warfare triggered by the Maidan coup, which eventually saw Crimea join the Russian Federation.

In a conversation with American journalist Tucker Carlson last month, Putin reiterated that Russia remained ready for talks with Ukraine, but in order for them to take place, President Vladimir Zelensky must also revoke his decree that forbids him from negotiating with Moscow.

Meaningful peace talks between Russia and Ukraine broke down in March 2022, with both sides accusing each other of making unrealistic demands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently said the Ukrainian delegation had initially agreed with some of Russia’s terms during the talks in Türkiye, but then abruptly reneged on the deal.

According to revelations by David Arakhamia, Ukraine’s top negotiator in Istanbul, then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson played a pivotal role in orchestrating the failure of the talks. As Arakhamia put it, Johnson at the time simply told the Ukrainians “Let’s just continue fighting,” and urged them not to sign anything with Russia. Johnson has denied having any role in derailing the peace talks.

Even since talks between Moscow and Kiev broke down, Russia has repeatedly stressed that it remains open to meaningful peace negotiations and has blamed the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough on the Ukrainian authorities.

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