Kiev froze the peace talks but it is typical for the Ukrainian government to take mutually exclusive positions, Moscow said.
A veiled appeal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for direct peace talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin contradicts Kiev's decision to freeze all negotiations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out on Friday. He said that the Ukrainian government has a habit of taking positions that contradict each other.
Zelensky had wanted to negotiate with Putin on multiple occasions before and after Russia attacked his country. One of the recent comments of that nature came this week on a video call at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The Ukrainian president said Putin was the only Russian official worth talking to, dismissing the rest of the Russian government as nobodies. If he is able to see what the Ukrainian leader called the reality, then we may try to go the diplomatic way, unless it is too late, according to Zelensky. When asked for comments about the remarks, Peskov said Moscow didn't believe Kiev was willing to negotiate peace.
The talks were frozen after a decision by the Ukrainian side, according to the stance of the Ukrainian side, he said.
He said that the Ukrainian leadership has a lot of statements that contradict each other, making it impossible to fully understand its intentions and whether it is ready to take a sober approach and acknowledge the real state of affairs.
Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have been repeatedly stating that their forces were winning the fight against Russia and that the only question was how long it would take for Kiev to prevail and at what cost. The Ukrainian president said that talks with Russia would only be possible after Ukraine returns control over all territories it lost during the three month long Russian campaign. Kiev wants Crimea to be returned after the hostilities are over.
The Ukrainian side suffered several military defeats this month, and the president's office has been struggling to contain the negative publicity as a result. The surrender of hundreds of Ukrainian troops in Mariupol was described by Kiev as an evacuation that Ukrainian intelligence agents supposedly helped organize.
This week Russian troops took control of Liman, a strategically important town in Donbass. Even Zelensky's advisers acknowledged that the situation on the ground was poorly played out for Ukraine.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to retake the two republics by force.