Washington has to ‘understand responsibility’ for Ukraine conflict: Moscow

The United States has to review its current position on both the Ukraine conflict and relations with Russia if it wants to restore dialogue with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told NBC in an interview published on Friday.

The interview was published just a day after President Vladimir Putin accused the US and its allies of orchestrating the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev and essentially disrupting Russia’s years-long efforts to build normal relations with Ukraine. He also questioned the prospect of restoring relations between Russia and the West, saying that between NATO’s encroachment towards Russia’s borders and the role the US and its allies are playing in the standoff between the two neighbors, Moscow can hardly trust the Western nations.

Putin would be ready to work with “anyone who will understand that from now on you have to be more careful with Russia and you have to take into account its concerns”, Peskov told NBC’s Keir Simmons in Moscow, adding that the Russian leader would like to see a US president who is “more constructive” toward Russia and values dialogue more.

The Kremlin spokesperson also criticized America’s current role in the Ukraine conflict by saying that Washington only throws taxpayer money “into the wind” and is unnecessarily prolonging the hostilities by sending conflicting signals to Kiev, which end up just leading to more Ukrainian deaths.

A much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive has largely failed to bring about any notable changes to the front lines over some six months of the operation. According to Russian Defense Ministry estimates, Ukraine has lost over 125,000 troops and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment in failed attempts to advance over the past half year.

“You have to understand your responsibility for this,” Peskov said. “You are telling them [Ukrainians] — go and die,” he continued, adding that “you know pretty well that they cannot win” but still offer Kiev more money and armaments.

Russia has repeatedly stated it was ready for peace talks with Kiev as long as “the reality on the ground” is taken into account. In the autumn of 2022, four former Ukrainian territories, including the two Donbass republics, joined Russia following a series of referendums.

Kiev declared the referendums “sham” and has been pushing for its own “peace formula” under which Russia would withdraw its troops not only from the four regions but from Crimea as well before any talks could even commence. Moscow dismissed Ukraine’s demands as being detached from reality.

“America is strongly involved in this conflict,” the Kremlin spokesman told NBC, adding that the standoff between the two neighbors is in fact a “hybrid war” against Russia launched by Washington. Such confrontational tactics have been detrimental to global security, Peskov warned, adding that the world is “less safe than it used to be’’ before dialogue between Moscow and Washington was “shut down.”

Contacts between the two nations were reduced to minimum after Russia launched its military operation in February 2022. The US and its allies openly supported Kiev in the conflict and slapped Moscow with an unprecedented number of sanctions. Western nations then also started supplying arms to Ukrainian forces.

The ties have not been severed entirely, though. On Thursday, Putin revealed that dialogue between the two nations continues, particularly about the Americans accused of espionage in Russia. When asked during his marathon press conference about US nationals Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, the president said that Russia was willing to exchange them but wanted to reach a deal with Washington that would be “mutually acceptable”.

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