As a year dominated by Russia’s war on Ukraine draws to a close, Vladimir Putin was keen to suggest he was open to peace talks despite evidence to the contrary, with comments that were roundly dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a ruse at a time when the prospect of negotiations in the near future seems extremely remote.
A few days after declaring that he wanted to end his war, the Russian president reiterated on Sunday that he was ready to “negotiate with all those involved in this process on acceptable solutions”, the news agency reported. official TASS.
His remark came amid Russia’s relentless bombardment of Ukraine’s energy grid with rockets and missiles, which has sought to wreck the country’s power as it enters its cold winter months, and follows a 10-month invasion during which Putin repeatedly tried to denigrate Ukraine’s sovereignty. .
His comments were dismissed by Ukraine and the United States and are unlikely to be seen as more than a sideshow by the West.
This does not mean that Ukraine is not open to peace talks. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press on Monday that Kyiv wants UN talks to begin in February, but only after Russia faces a tribunal for crimes of war.
But the simple calculation remains unchanged; a conflict that many experts believe would be over in days or weeks has become a grueling war that Ukraine may be able to win, so any agreement that diminishes the country’s borders or represents some form of victory for Putin would be unacceptable for Kyiv.
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