Russia and Ukrainian officials last held in-person talks in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 29. The two sides have held negotiations via video link since, but according to Bloomberg, there’s been no public confirmation of talks this week.
According to Russia’s Tass news agency, Putin accused Ukraine of driving the negotiations to a dead end by deviating from agreements reached in Istanbul. Ukraine proposed a draft peace deal during the Istanbul talks that included Kyiv giving up on plans to join NATO, although the Ukrainians want security guarantees from some NATO countries.
Russia also wants Ukraine to recognize Crimea as Russian territory and recognize the independence of the breakaway republics in the eastern Donbas region. In an interview that aired Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he will “definitely” not recognize Crimea as Russian.
For their part, the US and other Western powers that are arming Ukraine don’t appear to be interested in pushing for a diplomatic solution. The Washington Post reported last week that for some in NATO, “it’s better for the Ukrainians to keep fighting, and dying, than to achieve a peace that comes too early or at too high a cost to Kyiv and the rest of Europe.”
In his comments on Tuesday, Putin insisted that Russia’s offensive in Ukraine was going according to plan. In recent weeks, Russia has completely withdrawn from northern areas near Kyiv and said it is now focused on “liberating” the Donbas. Putin said the war would “continue until its full completion and the fulfillment of the tasks that have been set.”
Putin also discussed the Western sanctions campaign against Russia, which he called a “blitzkrieg.” He said that the sanctions have “achieved certain results” and noted that Russia “had to increase the interest rate of the central bank to 20%,” but said the rate has gone down in recent days.