LAST UPDATE: 22.19
Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said tonight that Moscow was ready to resume peace talks with Ukraine, blaming Kyiv for suspending them.
“For our part, we are ready to continue the dialogue,” said Medinsky, a Kremlin adviser who has been tasked with negotiating with Ukraine, in an interview with Belarus Public Television.
“The freezing of the talks took place exclusively on the initiative of Ukraine,” he added, adding that now “the ball is in their court.”
“Russia has never refused to negotiate,” he said.
Negotiations began after Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24 but were unable to quickly occupy the capital. The two countries’ foreign ministers met in Turkey in March, after which delegations held talks in Istanbul, but without success.
Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Pontolyak said last Tuesday that talks were “suspended” as Russia redeployed its forces and now focused its “special operation”, as it calls the war, on eastern Ukraine.
“We are not ready for peace talks yet,” Ukrainian President Zelesky told Mario Draghi.
According to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, in a telephone conversation with Mario Draghi last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “his country is not yet ready for a real peace process.”
“We will be able to discuss it only when we recapture the territories that Russia has taken away from us since the beginning of the war,” Zelenski added, according to the Milan newspaper.
“I hope Italy continues to support us, with the defense systems we need for our liberation struggle,” Zeleski said.
According to “Corriere”, the Ukrainian president asked Mario Draghi to help his country join the European Union “despite the resistance of some members of the Union, starting from Berlin”.