Speaking to the press on December 9 at the end of a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, the Russian head of state made a point of recalling that his country was open to ending the conflict in Ukraine by means of a deal.
“At the end of the day, an agreement will have to be reached. I have said several times that we are ready for this agreement: we are open,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine during a press conference on December 9 in Bishkek. after a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. The leader nevertheless added: “But all that [la méfiance] obviously makes us think about who we are dealing with.
Ultimately, an agreement will have to be reached. I have said several times that we are ready for this agreement: we are open
A week earlier, on December 2, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov had reaffirmed that Vladimir Putin “has always been and remains open to negotiations”. The Russian official had recalled the president’s attempts to initiate “negotiations on the basis of projects prepared with the United States, NATO and the OSCE” before the start of the offensive in Ukraine. “This initiative has had no response,” lamented Dmitri Peskov, believing that the best way to ensure Russian interests was “through peaceful diplomatic means”.
US President Joseph Biden – whose country is actively helping Kiev – said he was “ready” on December 1 to speak with Vladimir Putin if the latter “seeks a way to end the war”, setting as the first condition withdrawal of Russian troops. On the same day, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov half-heartedly criticized Washington for holding double talk: on the one hand wanting to discuss stability and security issues with Moscow, on the other hand explaining that Russia must be defeated in Ukraine and “flood” Kiev with weapons.
kyiv accused of rejecting any negotiation proposal
Another major snag: in mid-October, Vladimir Putin had accused kyiv of “rejecting[r] any negotiation proposal.
In any event, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has closed the door to any negotiations with his Russian counterpart by signing a decree in early October which makes it “impossible to conduct talks with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin”. However, President Zelensky declared that his country was in favor of “negotiations with Russia, but with another president”. This Ukrainian decree was produced in the wake of the attachment to the Russian Federation of regions that Ukraine considers to be its own, after the organization of local referendums in which Kiev and its Western allies contest their legality.
Speaking also on December 9 about the Russian military operation in Ukraine – launched, as a reminder, last February – Vladimir Putin affirmed that it “sui[vait] its course”: “Everything is stable,” he assured. Finally, the Russian leader judges that “the settlement process as a whole will probably not be easy and will take time” and that all participants in this process will have to “admit the realities that are occurring on the ground”.
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