The Kremlin said that Russia’s goals in Ukraine have not changed but that they could be achieved by negotiations, Reuters reported on Thursday.
“The direction has not changed, the special military operation continues, it continues in order for us to achieve our goals,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, as quoted by the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
“However, we have repeatedly reiterated that we remain open to negotiations to achieve our objectives,” Peskov added.
Peskov’s remarks were the latest comments from Russian officials stressing that they are open to negotiations, although Ukraine has hardened its stance on peace talks with Russia after Moscow formally annexed the territory it controls in Ukraine.
The US has also made clear that it has no interest in negotiating with Russia over Ukraine, which Peskov recognized. “It takes two sides to have a dialogue. As the West is now taking a very, very hostile stance towards us, it’s unlikely that there will be any such prospect in the near future,” he said.
President Biden said this week that he has “no intention” to meet with Putin and negotiate over Ukraine and The Washington Post reported that US officials have ruled out the idea of pushing Ukraine to talk with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to discuss a Turkish proposal for peace talks when he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday. But another Kremlin official said the issue of Ukraine didn’t come up in the meeting.
Also on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had not received serious proposals from anyone in the West for negotiations. “No one [in the West] has approached us with serious proposals. We are not going to run after them,” Lavrov said, according to TASS.
Lavrov said a deal was in reach after in-person talks were held in Istanbul back in March, but said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was told not to accept the agreement. “At the end of March, a result was achieved in Istanbul based on the Ukrainian side’s proposals, which we accepted. Then, apparently, Kyiv was told: ‘It’s too early for you to decide, Mr. Zelensky,'” he said.
According to Ukrainska Pravda, when former British Prime Minister Borish Johnson went to Kyiv back in April, he told Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia and said even if Ukraine was ready to sign a deal, the West was not.