Russia said on Tuesday that it can agree with the United States about the need for lasting peace in Ukraine, but played down the prospect of negotiations until it achieves the goals of its “special military operation”.
Both U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have said they are open to diplomacy on Ukraine, but a meeting between the two leaders has not been organised and neither side agrees on the conditions for talks.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview on Monday that the conflict in Ukraine, now in its 10th month, would almost certainly end with diplomacy and negotiations, and that “just and durable peace” was needed.
Responding to Blinken’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he agreed about the need for peace.
“That the outcome should be a just and durable peace – one can agree with this,” he said. “But as for the prospects for some kind of negotiations, we don’t see them at the moment, we have repeatedly said so.”
Asked what would have to happen for such prospects to materialise, he said: “The goals of the special military operation must be achieved. Russia must and will achieve the goals it has set.”
Russia’s goals in Ukraine have not been fully defined, and appear to have shifted as its forces face setbacks on the battlefield, although it has said it will never give up occupied territory in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Kyiv has ruled out conceding any land to Russia in return for peace, and demands Russia return all the territory it has seized and occupied, including Crimea and land held by Russia or its proxies since 2014. (Writing by Caleb Davis, Editing by William Maclean)