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12 Apr, 2024 10:03

Ukraine peace talks without Russia ‘nonsense’ – Putin

Moscow is ready for a peaceful solution, but will not accept imposed agreements, the Russian president has said
Ukraine peace talks without Russia ‘nonsense’ – Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked a planned Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland, asserting that while Moscow is ready for a diplomatic solution, holding negotiations without it is “nonsense.” Russia has not been invited to the Swiss-based talks.

During a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday, Putin reiterated that Moscow had not rejected a peaceful end to the Ukraine conflict, explaining that it is “exactly what we’re inclined to do.” But Russia would not accept any imposed agreements that ignore its interests, he stressed.

Speaking about Switzerland’s plans to host an international conference in June on peace in Ukraine, Putin noted that Moscow had not been invited.

“They think that we have nothing to do there, and at the same time they say that nothing can be solved without us. Since we are not going there (it has now turned into a kind of nonsense),” the Russian leader said.

“They say, we refuse to negotiate. We’re not invited, but they say that we refuse.”

“It would be funny if it were not so sad,” he concluded.

The only thing the West can agree on without having Russia at the table is how to “intensify escalation,” Lukashenko remarked.

“Without Russia, what peace process are we talking about? No peace settlement is possible without Russia,” the Belarusian leader stated.

Russia’s peace efforts led to major negotiations in Türkiye at an early stage in the conflict, Putin said. He recalled that during the talks in Istanbul in March 2022, the Ukrainian delegation had initially agreed with some of Russia’s terms. However, “under pressure from the West, the Ukrainian side opted out of these agreements.”

“We were told that Ukraine could not sign the document ‘with a gun to its head’, that we had to withdraw our troops from Kiev. So we did,” the Russian president said. “Immediately after we did that, our agreements were discarded,” he added.

Ukraine has now realized that it cannot defeat Russia on the battlefield, but by refusing to negotiate, it has driven itself into a corner, Putin said.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a law in 2022 which declares peace talks impossible as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power.

Russia has repeatedly asserted that it is in principle ready to engage in peace negotiations with Ukraine. According to Moscow however, Kiev and its Western backers have set unrealistic preconditions for talks.