Hard positions suggest progress towards peace talks: direct declarations

debt…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

As the war for Ukraine turns into a bloody, mile-by-mile fight, Ukrainian and Russian officials have insisted they are ready to discuss peace. But it became increasingly clear that the demands of both sides to open negotiations were completely unacceptable to the other, causing American and European officials to end serious discussions about ending the war. Not possible in future.

No peace talks between Ukraine and Russia From the early weeks of the conflictIt began on February 24 when Russia launched a full-scale invasion. This week, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, described a proposition to the “Peace” summit by the end of February, but told the Associated Press Kiev will negotiate with Moscow only if Russia first faces a war crimes tribunal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov, replied Kyiv must accept Moscow’s demands – including giving up four Ukrainian regions it said Moscow annexed in September – or “the Russian military will deal with the issue.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry S. Peskov said on Wednesday that “there cannot be a peace plan for Ukraine that does not take into account today’s realities with the Russian territory, including the four annexed regions, according to the Interfax news agency.”

Stella Gervase, a professor of Russian history at the University of Newcastle in Britain, said, “The Ukrainian proposal offers Ukraine’s vision of how the war with Russia might one day end.” But, he said, “Lavro’s reaction is not very promising and is an indicator that a peace negotiation will take months and months.”

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Hardline positions suggest that both sides hope to gain more militarily. Although Moscow’s forces still occupy large swaths of the east and south, Ukraine has kept up battlefield momentum, having recaptured much of the land Russia seized early in the war. And Russia is asserting its own advantage, building up troops and launching airstrikes on infrastructure, deepening the Ukrainians’ misery, even as Russia’s military fights on the ground.

Last month, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a broad 10-point peace plan in an address to a summit of leaders of 20 nations. was invited Russian troops have been fully withdrawn from Ukrainian territory, including Crimea and parts of the eastern region known as the Donbass, which Russian forces seized in early 2014.

It also calls for an international court to try Russian war crimes; the release of all political prisoners of Moscow and those forcibly deported during the war; compensation from Russia for war damages; Actions by the international community to ensure the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and provide for its food and energy security.

These are tougher demands than what Ukrainian negotiators initially negotiated in Istanbul, when they proposed a month after Russia’s invasion. Adopting a neutral position – The result was the abandonment of its bid to join NATO, which Russia had long opposed – in exchange for security guarantees from the West. Russian atrocities have escalated since then, and the damage to Ukraine’s cities and its economy has deepened. In August, Mr. Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Zelensky, said the proposed structure in Istanbul was no longer viable.

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“The emotional background in Ukraine has changed a lot,” he said told the BBC. “We have witnessed many war crimes live.”

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin said over the weekend that he was ready to negotiate “acceptable results,” without specifying what those might be, while making clear that he had no intention of ending his attacks.

Western officials Mr. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Wednesday that Russia’s economy had shrunk by 2 percent in the past 11 months, Reuters reported, despite Russia’s economy reeling under Western sanctions. Putin insisted there were “no limits”. Russia’s military spending. This month, his defense minister ordered Another expansion of the armed services By over 300,000 members, to a target size of 1.5 million.

All that suggests, he said Marnie HowlettA lecturer in Russian and East European politics at the University of Oxford, “There is not necessarily a negotiated peace or even some kind of negotiations, but there is still a drive for any end game militarily.”

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