Ukraine seems to show no desire towards fulfilling preliminary peace deal, says Putin

The Russian President also asked about a possible meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky



By Reuters

Published: Wed 20 Jul 2022, 10:49 AM

Last updated: Wed 20 Jul 2022, 10:53 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine seemed to show no desire to fulfil the terms of what he described as a preliminary peace deal "practically achieved" in March, reports Reuters on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters in televised comments after a visit to Iran, he added that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were offering to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, with which Moscow's forces have been at war since late February.

There was no immediate response from the Ukrainian government to Putin's remarks in the early hours of Wednesday.

Putin also asked about a possible meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"The final result of course... depends on the willingness of the contracting parties to implement the agreements that were reached. Today we see the powers in Kyiv have no such desire," Putin said.

Negotiations took place in March, and saw both sides making proposals, but without a breakthrough. At the time, Zelensky had said that only a concrete result from the talks could be trusted.

Putin met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Tuesday, deepening ties between the two countries, both of which face Western sanctions. At this time, Putin also met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to discuss a deal that would resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports, now blockaded by Russia.

On Tuesday, the Russian leader had said not all the issues had been resolved yet on grain shipments, "but the fact that there is movement is already good".

This is Putin's first in-person meeting with a NATO leader since the Russia-Ukraine tensions began, and is also a pointed message to the West about Russian plans to forge closer strategic ties with Iran, China and India, in order to help offset Western sanctions imposed in this period.

ISOLATED

The trip shows how isolated Russia has become, said White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby.

Kirby also explained that the United States was preparing to unveil another weapons package for Ukraine. Citing U.S. intelligence, he accused Russia of laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory.

The Kremlin has stated no particular time limit for a conflict it calls a "special military operation" to ensure its own security. Ukraine and the West condemned it as an unprovoked war of aggression.

Russia was trying to "drag" Ukraine into a protracted conflict into the winter, Zelensky's Chief Of Staff Andriy Yermak said in a magazine interview published on Tuesday.

"It is very important for us not to enter the winter. After winter, when the Russians will have more time to dig in, it will certainly be more difficult" for any Ukrainian counter-offensive, Yermak said.

More than two weeks have passed since Russia's last major territorial gain— the capture of Lysychansk, a city in eastern Ukraine.

GAS EXPORTS

As the war drags on, concerns that Russia may halt natural gas exports to Europe have risen.

In response, the European Union is considering a voluntary 15% cut in natural gas use by its 27 member states beginning next month, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing EU diplomats.

Brussels is expected to publish plans on Wednesday in this regard. The exact number for the reduction target was not specified in a draft document of the plan, seen by Reuters.

The Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom was ready to fulfil its obligations on gas exports, Putin said, and was not to blame for a reduction in gas transit capacity, including shutting down one of the routes via Ukraine to Europe by Kyiv.

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