In an interview with the Financial Times, a top Russian diplomat says there is no communication with Western diplomats at the UN. The complete freeze in contact led the Kremin to assess there is no possibility of a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine.
Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told FT, "We do not have any contacts with the western delegations," he said of his day-to-day work in Geneva. "On the protocol side we do not see each other . . . Privately we do not have any contacts, unfortunately . . . we simply do not talk to each other."
He said the lack of contact between officials means there is no potential to end the war through talks. "Now, I do not see any possibility for diplomatic contacts. And the more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution," Gatilov said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has only spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once in the past six months. Gatilov said Western military support for Ukraine and preventing peace talks means the war will have a military end. "And so they [Kiev and its western supporters] will fight until the last Ukrainian," he said.
Lavrov said Ukraine made a workable proposal in March before Kiev broke off talks the following month. Multiple sources reported, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev as talks were progressing, discouraging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from engaging with the Kremlin.
Gatilov praised Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for attempting to facilitate a diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine. Ankara has hosted talks between Kiev and Moscow. Turkey and the UN were essential in crafting a deal that allows wheat to be exported through Black Sea ports.
While Russia is happy with Turkey’s mediation efforts, FT reported two weeks ago that Western diplomats were concerned about Ankara’s ties with Moscow. On Saturday, deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas that Russian companies and individuals are attempting to bypass Western sanctions in Turkey. Adeyemo warned the White House was attempting to enforce those sanctions.