The Kremlin said on Thursday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s calls for public negotiations with Russia show that he’s not serious about pursuing diplomacy.
“Public negotiations are hard to imagine in the first place. No talks can be held publicly, let alone negotiations in such a field. One thing is clear: Ukraine does not want to engage in talks, the special military operation marches on and its goals must be achieved,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to TASS.
Peskov was responding to comments Zelensky made a day earlier. The Ukrainian leader said that he received “signals” from his Western backers that Russian President Vladimir Putin desires direct negotiations with Kyiv. Zelensky said he proposed a public format because “Russia is waging a public war.”
Zelensky’s comments came after he met with CIA Director William Burns, who visited Kyiv after holding talks in Ankara with Russia’s spy chief. There’s no indication that Burns spoke with Zelensky about possible negotiations, and the US insists the CIA chief did not discuss Ukraine with his Russian counterpart.
The only time peace talks between Russia and Ukraine had any hope was back in late March and early April. Ukraine and Russia held in-person talks in Istanbul, followed by virtual sessions. The two sides reportedly tentatively agreed on the outlines of a deal, but it was discouraged by the West.
In April, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv and urged Zelensky not to negotiate. According to a report in Ukrainian media, he told Zelensky even if Ukraine was ready to sign a deal with Moscow, the “collective West” was not.