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Putin says open to talks
Published on: Saturday, December 03, 2022
By: AFP
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Putin says open to talks
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (left) with Putin.
Moscow: President Vladimir Putin is open to talks on a possible settlement to the conflict in Ukraine and believes in a diplomatic solution, the Kremlin said on Friday after Joe Biden suggested he was prepared to speak to the Russian leader.

Biden, speaking beside French President Emmanuel Macron, said the only way to end the war in Ukraine was for Putin to pull troops out and that if Putin was looking to end the conflict then Biden would be prepared to speak to the Kremlin chief.

“I’m prepared to speak with Mr Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war,” the US leader said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov struck a dovish tone when asked about Biden’s remarks, saying that Putin remained open to negotiations but that Russia would not pull out of Ukraine.

“The president of the Russian Federation has always been, is and remains open to negotiations in order to ensure our interests,” Peskov told reporters.

Putin has said he has no regrets about launching what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine, casting it as a watershed moment when Russia finally stood up to arrogant Western hegemony after decades of humiliation in the years since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine and the West say Putin has no justification for what they cast as an imperial-style war of occupation. 

Ukraine says it will fight until the last Russian soldier is ejected from its territory.

Putin told German counterpart Olaf Scholz on Friday that Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure were “inevitable” and accused the West of pursuing “destructive” policies, the Kremlin said.

“Such measures have become a forced and inevitable response to Kyiv’s provocative attacks on Russia’s civilian infrastructure,” the Kremlin said in a statement following the telephone talks, the first between Putin and Scholz since mid-September.

“Attention was drawn to the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, that are pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons, and are training the Ukrainian military,” the Kremlin added.

But Scholz pressed Putin to seek a diplomatic solution to end his war in Ukraine, including by pulling out Russian troops, Berlin said.

“The chancellor urged the Russian president to come as quickly as possible to a diplomatic solution including the withdrawal of Russian troops,” according to the German leader’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

Russia has claimed around a fifth of Ukraine’s post-Soviet territory, annexations the West and Ukraine say they will ever accept.

Peskov said that the refusal of the United States to recognise “the new territories” as Russian was hindering a search for any potential compromise.

Asked if the way Biden was framing potential contacts meant that negotiations were impossible from a Russian perspective, Peskov said: “In essence, that’s what Biden said. He said that negotiations are possible only after Putin leaves Ukraine.”

The Kremlin, Peskov said, could not accept that - and the Russian military operation would continue in Ukraine.

“But at the same time - it is very important to give this in conjunction – President Putin has been, is and remains open for contacts, for negotiations. Of course, the most preferable way to achieve our interests is through peaceful, diplomatic means.”

The conflict has left tens of thousands of soldiers dead on both sides and triggered the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

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