(Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday it could agree with the United States on the need for a lasting peace in Ukraine, but downplayed the prospect of negotiations until it achieves the goals of its ” special military operation”.
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both said they are open to diplomacy on Ukraine, but no meeting between the two leaders has been arranged and neither side has agreed on the terms of the talks.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview on Monday that the conflict in Ukraine, now in its 10th month, will almost certainly end with diplomacy and negotiations, and that a “just and lasting peace” was needed.
Responding to Blinken’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he agreed on the need for peace.
“Let the result be a just and lasting peace – we can agree with that,” he said. “But as far as the prospects for some kind of negotiations, we don’t see them at the moment, we’ve said that many times.”
Asked what would have to happen for such prospects to materialize, he replied: “The objectives of the special military operation must be achieved. Russia must achieve and will achieve the objectives it has set itself.”
Russia’s objectives in Ukraine have not been fully defined and appear to have changed as its forces face setbacks on the battlefield, although it has said it will never abandon occupied territory in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Kyiv has ruled out granting land to Russia in return for peace and demands that Russia return all territory it seized and occupied, including Crimea and land held by Russia or its proxies since 2014.
(Writing by Caleb Davis, editing by William Maclean)