Russia is ready to negotiate with the current or future Ukrainian president, Dmitry Peskov says
To resume peace talks with Kiev, Moscow will wait for either a change of stance by the current Ukrainian president or for a new leader, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. This comes after President Zelensky signed a decree ruling out negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Even before the launch of Russia's military operation in Ukraine in late February, Moscow "was the supporter of the idea of achieving the terms put forward by the Russian side through diplomatic means," Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.
Russia is still ready to look for a negotiated solution to the conflict between the neighbors, according to the spokesman. But "it takes two parties to negotiate," he noted.
"We'll now be waiting for the current president to change his stance or for the arrival of the future president of Ukraine, who would change his position in the interests of the Ukrainian people," Peskov said.
On Tuesday, Zelensky signed a decree on Ukraine officially rejecting peace talks with Putin. It rubber stamped decisions made by Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, on Friday, just hours after Putin signed agreements on Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions joining Russia.
One of the resolutions was: "stating the impossibility of conducting negotiations with Russia's President Vladimir Putin."
Zelensky recorded a video address after the meeting claiming that "we [Ukraine] are ready for dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia."
In his speech on Friday, Putin called upon Ukraine to "cease all hostilities, stop the war it started back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table."
However, he made it clear that the decision to unite with Russia, which the people of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions made during referendums, was not up for discussion. Kiev should treat the "free choice" of the four territories "with respect," Putin said, adding that it was "the only way for peace."
Moscow and Kiev have not sat down at the negotiating table since talks in Istanbul in late March. The Russian side, which initially expressed optimism on the peace process, later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all the progress achieved in Trkiye, saying it had lost trust in Kiev's negotiators.
In recent months, Ukraine has been either putting forward terms that Moscow deemed 'unrealistic' for the resumption of talks, or said that they can only begin after Russia is defeated on the battlefield.
READ MORE: Putin calls on Ukraine to return to negotiations
During the conflict, Zelensky has also, on several occasions, proposed meeting with Putin face-to-face in order to find a way to end the hostilities. But Moscow insisted that the two leaders should only get together to sign concrete agreements already prepared for them by the negotiating teams.