Any future Russia-Ukraine peace talks will be direct, says Russian diplomat

If talks resume, Ukraine will have to take new realities into account, says Russian Foreign Ministry official.

Publication: 13.01.2023 - 17:52
Any future Russia-Ukraine peace talks will be direct, says Russian diplomat
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Any peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in the future will be direct, a senior Russian official said on Friday.

“So far, we have only communicated directly with Ukrainians, using the platforms that were kindly provided to us (in Belarus and Türkiye), which we appreciate very much,” Alexey Polishchuk, Russian Foreign Ministry official, told state-owned news agency TASS.

Between February and April last year, Russia held three rounds of peace talks with Ukraine in Belarus and one in Türkiye, he said.

Negotiations then moved to videoconferences, before they were halted by Ukraine, said Polishchuk, who is the director of the Foreign Ministry’s Second Department of Commonwealth of Independent States.

If talks resume, Ukraine will have to take into account the new realities on the ground, he added.

“Since Kyiv interrupted the negotiation process, the situation has changed, with new regions having joined Russia,” he said.

Prospects for a successful diplomatic settlement with Ukraine are difficult to judge because Moscow sees that Kyiv remains “a tool in the hands of the West, primarily the US,” Polishchuk added.

“In fact, Russia is not against Ukraine, but rather opposes the NATO-Ukrainian military-industrial conglomerate, in which Ukrainians are a tool being used to fight Russia, while NATO and its members work in the background by supplying weapons and intelligence,” he said.

While there are around 20 proposals for mediation between Russian and Ukraine, not all of them can be trusted, he said.

That is because of the involvement of countries that are supplying weapons to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia, which makes them “a party to the conflict,” he added.

Polishchuk said Poland is serving as a transit hub for weapons flowing in from the West, and accused it of eyeing ways to reclaim territory it lost in World War II.

As NATO continues to increase its military presence in Poland and the Baltic States, Russia and Belarus are taking a unified stance to defend themselves, he said.

Asked if Belarus could become directly involved in the Ukraine conflict, Polishchuk said that could only happen if Kyiv directly attacks Belarus or Russia.

Even then, it is a decision that will be up to the heads of states, as the Russian-Belarusian alliance is “exclusively defensive,” he added.

Polishchuk labelled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s plan for a peace summit at the UN an “unserious” and “populist” move.

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