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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US politicians ‘living in Wonderland’ – Moscow

Washington insists the Ukraine conflict must be settled based on the UN Charter, but backs Kiev’s ‘peace formula,’ the Foreign Ministry says

US calls for Russia to hold talks on ending the Ukraine conflict seem detached from reality and ignore Moscow’s previous attempts to reach a settlement, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted on Monday that Moscow’s alleged plans “to erase Ukraine from the map… failed.” He added that he hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken note of Western support for Ukraine, “gets the message, and demonstrates a willingness to genuinely negotiate consistent with the basic principles… of the international community and the UN Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence.”

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Responding to Blinken’s remarks later that day, Zakharova said American politicians seem to live in a “wonderland.”

She recalled that in 2014 and 2015, Russia “showed respect for international law” by promoting the now-defunct Minsk agreements, which sought to end the bloodshed in the region by giving the two Donbass republics special status within the Ukrainian state.

Moscow has claimed that Kiev and Western countries never intended to implement the deal in the first place. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and ex-French President Francois Hollande have admitted that the primary purpose of the agreements was to help Kiev buy time to build a stronger military force.

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Zakharova also noted that Moscow was ready to engage in peace talks in 2022. At the time, negotiations in Istanbul, Türkiye initially made headway, but later collapsed after what Russia claims was interference by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who allegedly advised Kiev to keep fighting. Johnson has denied the accusation.

The spokeswoman stated that Blinken himself had proposed settling the conflict “based not on international law,” but on the ‘peace formula’ proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which demands that Russia withdraw all troops from the territory Kiev claims as its own and includes several other clauses that Moscow has rejected as unacceptable.

“Everything has gone haywire in the White House,” Zakharova said.

Moscow maintains that it is open to talks with Ukraine. However, Zelensky signed a decree in autumn 2022 barring negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow. The move came after four former Ukrainian regions voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.