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15 May, 2024 08:09

Putin explains why peace talks with Ukraine collapsed

Any discussions on the conflict must address global stability and focus on multilateral security guarantees, the Russian president says
Putin explains why peace talks with Ukraine collapsed

Russia has never ruled out talks for a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine conflict, but any discussions must take into account the interests of all parties involved, including Moscow, President Vladimir Putin has said.

In an interview with the Xinhua news agency on Wednesday ahead of his visit to China this week, Putin commended Beijing’s peace initiative for the Ukraine conflict, saying it showed “the genuine desire of our Chinese friends to help stabilize the situation” in the region.

The proposal, which was first released by Beijing last February, calls for a ceasefire, “respecting the sovereignty of all countries” and “abandoning the Cold War mentality.” It also stipulates that “the security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs.” 

The Russian president praised Beijing for promoting the idea of “indivisible security,” noting that these principles could ensure that Russia’s concerns are not neglected while paving the way for a “long-term and sustainable peace.” 

“Unfortunately, neither Ukraine nor its Western patrons support these initiatives,” Putin lamented, adding that they are not ready for a dialogue based on mutual consideration of each other’s interests which would address the underlying causes of the crisis.

“We are seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means. We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including Russia’s.” 

Putin added that any dialogue “must also involve a substantive discussion on global stability and security guarantees for Russia’s opponents and, naturally, for Russia itself.” 

The main problem here, he continued, is the reliability of those guarantees, given that some states “seek to substitute the world order based on international law with an order based on certain rules.” According to Putin, certain countries continue to talk about rules which “no one has ever seen… and which, apparently, tend to change depending on the current political situation.” 

Putin also accused Western elites of “stubbornly working to ‘punish’ Russia, isolate and weaken it,” by providing Kiev with military and financial aid and enforcing “illegal” sanctions against Moscow. In addition, they “are turning a blind eye to the resurgence of Nazism and to Ukraine-sponsored terrorist attacks in our territory,” the president added.

The Russian leader recalled that Moscow engaged in talks with Kiev early in the conflict, which resulted in a draft peace agreement that provided security guarantees for Ukraine. However, after Russia withdrew its forces from Kiev, Ukraine broke off the engagement because it heeded Western advice to keep fighting “to achieve Russia’s strategic defeat,” Putin added.