The Kremlin on Friday rejected US President Joe Biden’s terms for Ukraine talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, saying Moscow’s offensive will continue.
“What did President Biden say in fact? He said that negotiations are possible only after Putin leaves Ukraine," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding Moscow was “certainly" not ready to accept the conditions.
“The special military operation is continuing," Peskov said, using the Kremlin term for the assault on Ukraine.
During a state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden said Thursday he would be willing to speak to Putin if the Russian leader truly wants to end the fighting.
“I’m prepared to speak with Mr Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war," the US leader said.
Peskov on Friday said Putin was ready for talks to ensure Russia’s interests are respected but added that Washington’s stance “complicates" any possible talks.
“The United States does not recognise new territories as part of the Russian Federation," Peskov said, referring to Ukrainian regions that the Kremlin claims to have annexed.
In September, Moscow held so-called referendums in four regions of Ukraine — Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia — and said residents had voted in favour of becoming subjects of Russia.
The United Nations has condemned the “attempted illegal annexation" of Ukrainian land.
Peskov said that before sending troops to Ukraine on February 24 Putin had repeatedly proposed to hold talks with NATO, the OSCE and the United States but those attempts had proved “unsuccessful."
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