Putin comments on meeting with Zelensky

Meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky would be pointless at this time, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in Tehran

Putin comments on meeting with Zelensky
20 Jul, 2022 00:40 HomeRussia & FSU

Putin comments on meeting with Zelensky

The Russian president noted that Kiev reneged on the deal struck in March

Russian President Vladimir Putin did not answer directly if he would be willing to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky, but implied such a meeting would be pointless, as Kiev reneged on a peace initiative negotiated with Turkey’s help in March. 

“There were well-known negotiations in Istanbul, when we actually reached an agreement, the only thing left to do was to sign it,” Putin told reporters on Tuesday, after meeting with the presidents of Turkey and Iran in Tehran. 

“In order to create these conditions, our troops withdrew from central Ukraine, from Kiev, but the Kiev authorities refused to implement these agreements” and have no desire to do so even now, the Russian president added.

Thanking Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for his efforts to negotiate a peace in Ukraine, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for offering their mediation efforts, Putin said the outcome in the end depends “not on the mediators, but on the willingness of the parties involved” to make good on their obligations.

Putin was in Tehran for the summit of the “Astana Troika,” the three countries leading the peace process for war-torn Syria since early 2017.

In early May, Ukrainian media reported that Kiev reneged on the March 29 agreement, reached by the two delegations in Istanbul, after a visit by British PM Boris Johnson on April 9. Johnson had told Zelensky that Putin was “a war criminal, who should be prosecuted and not negotiated with,” and that even if Ukraine were willing to make peace with Russia, the West was not, Ukrayinska Pravda reported citing multiple government officials.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba insisted in his interview with Forbes on Monday that Kiev would only be eager to resume talks after Moscow suffers “defeat on the battlefield.” According to Kuleba, President Zelensky doesn’t rule out “the possibility of negotiations,” but believes “there is no reason” for it at the moment.

If and when talks on a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine conflict resume, Moscow will make much harsher demands, Leonid Slutsky, a member of Moscow's negotiating team, warned on Tuesday. Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov also addressed the possibility of the resumption of talks with Ukraine, saying on Monday that Russia’s demands would be “different” if the two sides sit down at the negotiating table now.