Russia has said it is willing to restart peace talks with Ukraine, however, at the same time, Ukraine has said the war will only end when the country regains control of all territories currently occupied by Russian troops.
On Monday, Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti wrote that Russia’s Foreign Ministry is ready to return to the negotiating table with Ukrainian officials, as soon as Kyiv shows what deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko described as a “constructive position.”
“We will be ready to return as soon as Ukraine shows a constructive position and provides at least a reaction to the proposals submitted to it,” Rudenko said, talking to reporters in Moscow.
His statement came in response to President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s advisor Mykhailo Podolyak’s recent comment which excluded the possibility of reaching any peace agreement with Russia that forced Ukraine to recognize the Russian occupation over any of the territories taken since February 24.
On May 21, Podolyak ruled out the possibility of a ceasefire that saw Kyiv forced to cede any of its territories to Moscow. He defended this increasingly uncompromising stance with his distrust of Russia.
“The war will not stop [after any concessions], it will just be put on pause for some time,” he told Reuters in an interview.
“After a while, with renewed intensity, the Russians will build up their weapons, manpower and work on their mistakes, modernize a little, fire many generals… And they’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”
He said peace talks can only start once Russian troops leave Ukraine.
In a video directed at the New York Times and criticizing Western calls to reach a peace deal in Ukraine, Podolyak said, “any concession to Russia is not a path to peace, but a war postponed for several years.”
“Ukraine will decide its own destiny,” he added.
Podolyak’s stance was mirrored on Sunday by Ukraine’s head of Zelensky’s office Andriy Yermak, who wrote on Twitter that the war will not end without the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“That is, our victory. Our common victory with the civilized world. After all, today Ukraine is defending not itself only. Ukraine today is the Thermopiles of Europe,” Yermak wrote.
Rudenko said that any follow-up move towards restarting peace negotiations will be “guided by the official reaction of the Kyiv authorities,” saying that Ukraine will have to make the first step in that direction.
Initial peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv delegates ended with no significant breakthroughs in late March. Since then, the possibility of negotiations restarting has faded.