With Moscow and Kiev set on achieving their aims by force, there is no hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine in the immediate future, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Friday.
“I am not very hopeful that we’ll have a peaceful solution in the immediate future,” Guterres said at a press conference ahead of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India. “I think the two parties have still decided to move on with the conflict.”
In Ukraine, recent months have seen Kiev’s forces expend 66,000 men and 7,600 pieces of heavy equipment attempting to break through Russia’s defenses between Kherson and Donetsk regions, according to the latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry.
Although media reports suggest that Kyiv’s Western backers consider this counteroffensive a failure, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky still insists that his military will retake the formerly Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporozhye, and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Crimea, which voted to join the Russian Federation in 2014.
Russia maintains that it is open to a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but that any peace deal would have to take into account the “new territorial reality” – that the aforementioned regions will not be ceded back to Ukraine. Furthermore, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said negotiations would be held “not with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters.”