Ukraine: Dmytro Kuleba discusses plan to achieve 'peace'
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On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared to end any chance of peace negotiations as he gave Ukraine an ultimatum to accept Russia’s proposals or the issue would be decided by the Russian army. The minister’s threat comes just one day after Vladimir Putin said he was ready to negotiate over Ukraine.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with TASS, a Russian news agency, and said: “Our proposals for the demilitarisation and denazification of the territories controlled by the [Ukrainian] regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy.
“The point is simple: Fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that Russia was “ready to negotiate” over Ukraine about “acceptable solutions”.
He also accused Ukraine and its western allies of not wishing to talk and said: “We are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are.”
Russia has regularly said it is open for negotiations – last Thursday Vladimir Putin said Russia “will strive” for an end to the end and this would involve “some kind of diplomatic track”.
However, Ukraine and its allies have suspected Vladimir Putin’s motive is to buy time as Russia has suffered from defeats and retreats in recent months.
John Kirby, the spokesman for the White House, has said that Vladimir Putin has “shown absolutely zero indication that he’s willing to negotiate” to end the war.
He added: “Everything he is doing on the ground and in the air bespeaks a man who wants to continue to visit violence upon the Ukrainian people.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelensky, said that Vladimir Putin “needs to come back to reality” after the Russian leader said he was ready for negotiations.
On Twitter, the adviser wrote: “Russia single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens.”
He added that it was “obvious” that Russia “doesn’t want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility.”
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, responded to the advisor with disapproval and told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti that Russia “never followed conditions set by others – only our own and common sense”.
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However, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday evening that Ukraine was aiming to hold peace talks by the end of February 2023, around the anniversary of when the war began.
He said diplomacy will play an important role in ending the conflict in Ukraine, but Russia should only be invited to talk after facing prosecution for war crimes in an international court.
The minister said: “Every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.
“The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit because this is not about making a favour to a certain country. This is really about bringing everyone on board.”
Dmytro Kuleba dismissed Vladimir Putin’s claim he wanted to negotiate and said: “[Russia] regularly say that they are ready for negotiations, which is not true, because everything they do on the battlefield proves the opposite.”
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