Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that Moscow was open to talks with Western powers as Turkey is looking to broker negotiations.
Lavrov also said that Russia would consider a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Biden if one was proposed. “We have repeatedly said that we never refuse meetings. If there is a proposal, then we will consider it,” he said.
A potential venue for talks between Biden and Putin could be the sidelines of the upcoming summit of G20 leaders that will be held in mid-November in Indonesia. But according to Lavrov, Russia has not received any serious proposals from the US to negotiate.
The US was quick to dismiss Lavrov’s comments, accusing him of “posturing” and calling for Russia to stop launching strikes across Ukraine. “We see this as posturing. We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Despite the US dismissal of potential talks, Turkey appears eager to broker negotiations between the two sides. The Kremlin said that Putin will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, and it’s “possible” that the two leaders will discuss a Turkish proposal to host talks between the West and Russia.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, on Tuesday and noted a “common understanding” when it came to the need to reach a ceasefire, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.
“The importance of declaring a ceasefire urgently in order to prevent further loss of lives and to re-establish peace and stability in the region was emphasized, and it was gladly observed that there was a common understanding regarding the ceasefire,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a readout of the call.
While there are growing calls for peace talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his position that he won’t hold talks with Russia as long as Putin is president during a virtual meeting with the G7. Zelensky recently signed a decree ruling out any dialogue with Putin’s government.