The Kremlin said Monday that Russia’s goals in Ukraine can only be achieved through military means at the moment and ruled out the idea that peace talks were possible.
“For us, the absolute priority continues and will always remain the achievement of the goals set. At the moment, they can only be achieved by military means,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
“So far there are no preconditions for the transition of the process into a peaceful course,” he added. Peskov was responding to remarks from Wolfgang Ischinger, a veteran German diplomat who served as the chair of the Munich Security Conference.
Ischinger suggested it was time for Western countries to think about a peace process and establish a contact group to work toward negotiations. But at this point, the US and other Western countries are leaving the issue of potential peace talks up to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky and his top aides maintain that peace talks can’t happen until Russia is driven out of all the territory it controls, including Crimea, a goal the Pentagon thinks is unrealistic. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said talks with Russia can’t happen until there are war crimes tribunals for Russian soldiers.
Peskov’s comments are the latest sign that there’s little hope for a diplomatic solution to the war, although Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly planning to speak with both Zelensky and President Vladimir Putin soon, suggesting Beijing might try to mediate between the warring sides.
Earlier in the war, Russia was much more open to the idea of peace talks, and negotiations that were held in March and April of 2022 had a real chance. But those efforts were ultimately discouraged by the West.