Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday rejected an Iraqi offer to mediate talks between Ukraine and Russia during a visit to Baghdad, his first since the Russian invasion.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met with Kuleba and called for a ceasefire, saying it was the same message he gave to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he visited Baghdad in February.
“We always strive to be a part of the solution. Wars end with negotiation and dialogue; that’s why we believe in the language of dialogue,” Hussein said. “That’s why when we negotiate or discuss with officials in Moscow, and Minister Lavrov was here in the same hall, we mentioned the same principles, and we told them that we support a ceasefire and the start of negotiations.”
Hussein said that Iraq “has experience in communication with countries that have tension between them” and “is ready to be in service of peace.” But Kuleba declined the offer and reaffirmed Kyiv’s position that peace talks with Moscow can’t happen until Russia withdraws from all the territory it has captured.
“Russia is on the offensive … and this is the biggest hurdle on the way to peace,” Kuleba said. “We need Russia to agree with a very simple fact that it has to stop the war and withdraw.”
Kuleba has maintained a very hard line concerning peace talks with Moscow. He previously said negotiations could only happen after tribunals are held for alleged Russian war crimes. For their part, Moscow maintains any future peace deal must recognize the Ukrainian territory it has annexed as Russian, which is a non-starter for talks with Kyiv.