Putin says China offered ‘realistic basis’ for Ukraine peace talks

Moscow is grateful to Beijing for its proposals on ways to end the Ukrainian crisis, but the government in Kiev keeps rejecting any constructive talks while stubbornly seeking Russia’s defeat on the battleground and suffering “enormous” losses in its failed counteroffensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated.

“We are aware, of course, of the proposals of our Chinese friends… I think they are quite realistic, at least they could be the basis for peace agreements. But, unfortunately, the opposing side is unwilling to conduct any negotiations,” Putin said in an interview with the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) network that was aired on Monday.

Moscow and Kiev have not sat down at the negotiating table since talks in Istanbul in late March 2022, a month after the outbreak of the conflict. Russia, which initially expressed optimism on the peace process, later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all progress achieved in Türkiye, saying it had lost trust in Kiev’s negotiators.

Putin recalled how as soon as the Russian troops moved away from Kiev under that preliminary memorandum, Ukraine “immediately threw all these agreements into the dustbin,” and “announced that they would seek Russia’s defeat and victory on the battlefield, Russia’s strategic defeat.”

“How is it possible to negotiate if they do not want to do so and have also issued a legal document that forbids these negotiations?” Putin wondered, insisting that Moscow was open for talks back then, and is “ready” now, but it was up to Kiev to declare they are ready for constructive negotiations.

The 12-point peace roadmap released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry early this year involves a range of measures, from a ceasefire and peace talks to abandoning “Cold War mentality” and sanctions, while promoting global stability and international supply chains.

Welcomed by Moscow, the roadmap was received poorly by Ukraine and its Western backers, who continue to push Kiev’s own so-called “peace formula” which demands Russia to unconditionally withdraw to its pre-2014 borders, pay reparations, and submit to war crimes tribunals.

In the latest interview, the Russian leader reiterated that the entire conflict stems from Moscow’s legitimate security concerns over the creeping NATO expansion, and its announcement in 2008 that Ukraine was “expected” to join the US-led military bloc, long before the Western-backed “coup d’état” in Kiev in 2014.

“And so, year after year, year after year, the situation escalated… With the hands of the Kiev regime, [Western powers] launched hostilities in south-eastern Ukraine, in the Donbas, and conducted these hostilities for eight years, killing women and children. No one in the West paid any attention to this or pretended not to,” Putin stated, adding, “Russia’s special military operation is not the start of a war, it is an attempt to stop it.”

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