According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, peace talks between Ukraine and Russia can only begin once Kiev changes its stance and creates the necessary conditions for such discussions. Peskov stated that if Russia sees that it can achieve its goals through means other than military action, talks can and will happen. However, this is not currently the case, as the Kiev regime has rejected peaceful resolutions to the conflict.
When questioned about what the Ukrainian government could do to start the conversation, Peskov emphasized that Kiev must recognize the reality that has emerged since it rejected peaceful means of resolving issues. He highlighted the draft truce agreement that Russia and Ukraine almost adopted last year during Turkish-mediated talks, but which Kiev subsequently dropped, as evidence of Russia’s willingness to negotiate. Peskov’s comments were in response to recent claims by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who suggested that Russia was not interested in peaceful negotiations.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has consistently refused to engage in negotiations with Russia until his country achieves the goal of removing Russian troops from all territory that Kiev claims sovereignty over. This no-talks policy was enshrined in a law signed by Zelensky last year.
The situation in Crimea was also mentioned, with Peskov stating that it broke away from Ukraine after a Western-backed coup in 2014 and rejoined Russia the same year. He also noted that four other former Ukrainian regions – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye Region, and Kherson Region – followed suit last year amid ongoing hostilities.
Kiev’s demands, which include the return of all territories, reparations from Russia, and a trial of the Russian leadership, have been described by senior Russian officials as detached from reality. They have also suggested that the Ukrainian government is not able to accept peace talks. Moscow views the conflict in Ukraine as a US-led proxy war against Russia, one that Western nations intend to pursue at the expense of Ukraine.
Kiev relies on Western aid to arm and supply its military and cover a significant portion of its government expenses. Zelensky expressed concerns in a recent interview with The Economist that despite public assurances of support from Western leaders, some of them may be inclined to reduce the volume of assistance.
Overall, it appears that Russia is open to diplomatic negotiations to resolve the conflict with Ukraine, as long as Kiev changes its stance and recognizes the reality on the ground. However, until such conditions are met, it seems unlikely that peace talks will occur.