After repeated offers from Moscow to negotiate during the war, Kyiv has named a complete Russian troop withdrawal as a prerequisite for this.
"The only realistic proposal should be the immediate end of the Russian war against Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory," Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said on Sunday. He was reacting to new statements by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who confirmed Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin's offer to Ukraine for negotiations.
If Russia really wants negotiations, it must stop destroying the country's energy infrastructure so people don't freeze to death in winter, Nikolenko said. Anyone who wants to negotiate shouldn't shoot at residential areas in Ukraine either, mobilize 300,000 reservists for the fight and not - as has been the case since Saturday - block the country's grain exports.
Against the background of the defeat of the Russian army, Lavrov was throwing smoke screens, the diplomat said. As long as Russia commits crimes in Ukraine, Ukraine's answer can only be that the battle will be decided on the field. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected talks with Putin by decree.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed on state television, like Lavrov, that he was willing to negotiate. When asked whether such offers to Ukraine weren't a sign of weakness, he said that only "strong people" could reach out to peace. Peskov also explained that for such talks, what is needed above all is the willingness of the United States to listen to Russia's position.
"Obviously, the deciding voice is in Washington," he says. Russia accuses the leadership in Ukraine of being controlled by the United States. In addition, the Russian power apparatus sees Washington as a war party because of the billions in arms deliveries.