Russia’s foreign ministry has dismissed a proposal that Ukraine’s most powerful Western partners should be involved in eventual peace talks to end Moscow’s ongoing invasion of its neighbor.
The ministry told RIA Novosti on Tuesday that the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France can’t be considered reliable mediators in any peace negotiations given their involvement in the conflict, which has now entered its second year.
Last February’s full-scale invasion was a continuation of a conflict that has been ongoing since 2014, when Russian troops seized Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine.
The foreign ministry was responding to the recent proposal by veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger for the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany to form the “nucleus” of a Western mediating group to seek an end to the fighting.
“Officially, we do not know anything about this initiative,” the ministry told RIA Novosti, adding that it posed multiple problems. “First of all, because all the four countries mentioned themselves are parties to the conflict with Russia, which continues on the territory of Ukraine.”
“These countries support Zelensky’s pseudo-peace initiatives, which are ultimatum requirements for the surrender of our country,” the ministry added. “With such approaches, the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany cannot claim to be neutral mediators launching the peace process. They are not interested in resolving the crisis and are doing everything to maximize the confrontation.”
Newsweek has contacted the State Department to request comment.
There appears to be almost no hope for renewed peace talks as Russia’s full-scale invasion grinds on. Negotiations began only hours after Russia’s attack commenced on February 24, 2022, but from the start they were hamstrung by espionage and mistrust.
Talks broke down entirely amid mounting evidence of Russian atrocities in the spring of 2022. Though the two sides came together to conclude a grain export deal covering the Black Sea, negotiations to end the fighting—either temporarily or permanently—have proved elusive.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has proposed a 10-point peace deal that includes the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, reparations for war damage, and war crime prosecutions for Russian leaders. Moscow dismissed the proposal out of hand.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently putting forward his own peace plan. The blueprint calls for the lifting of all sanctions on Russia and suggests an immediate cease-fire that would leave Russian troops on Ukrainian territory. This is anathema for Kyiv, though Ukrainian leaders have said they remain open to further discussions with Beijing.
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