Aborted peace deal could be basis for Ukraine talks, says Kremlin

An aborted 2022 peace deal between Russia and Ukraine could be the basis for new negotiations but there is no sign that Kyiv is ready for talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Russia and Ukraine were on the verge of agreeing a deal to end hostilities at talks in Istanbul in April 2022, but that Ukraine backed away from it once Russian troops fell back from near Kyiv.

The deal is reported to have included clauses demanding that Ukraine adopt a geopolitically neutral status and not join NATO, limit the size of its armed forces, and grant a special status to eastern Ukraine – all things which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has made clear he opposes.

In remarks, Putin again raised the subject of potential peace talks and said he was open for what he called realistic negotiations but not for talks which Ukraine is holding which seek to bypass Moscow and do not, in his view, take new realities into account.

Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said a lot had changed since 2022, including what he said was the addition to Russian territory of four new regions, a reference to the parts of Ukraine which Moscow has claimed as its own.

But Peskov said the aborted Istanbul deal could still be the basis for new talks and that Russia was ready for that. When asked if Moscow sensed any readiness from the Ukrainian side for talks however, Peskov said: “No, we don’t sense that.”

Ukraine says it wants all of its territory back, including Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and for every Russian soldier to leave its territory. It is trying to drive international talks on its stance which exclude Russia.

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