Putin – Ukraine Talks Coming Soon? Amid heightening tensions with the West and worsening warfare in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the leaders of France and Germany have called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold “direct” and “serious” negotiations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced this week that he and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to President Putin by telephone for 80 minutes, and that during the discussion they urged the Russian leader to announce an “immediate ceasefire” and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
During the call, Putin reportedly said that he is open to resuming negotiations with Kyiv, but did not commit to a date or a direct conversation with the president himself.
Three months into the war, the situation appears to have flipped to some extent, with the Russian president now willing to engage in peace negotiations but Ukraine less eager to do so. With consecutive rounds of military assistance given to Ukraine over the last three months, including a $40 billion package from the United States and a possible seventh round of aid from France on the way too, Kyiv is less eager to continue talks with Russia now that Russian forces have failed to achieve their goals in Kyiv.
Ukraine Not Rushing to Talk with Putin
On Friday, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said that he was not rushing to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though there is plenty to talk to him about.
“There are things to discuss with the Russian leader,” he said. “I’m not telling you that to me our people are eager to talk to him, but we have to face the realities of what we are living through.”
Zelenskyy made the comments during a virtual address to a think tank based in Indonesia, adding that the Ukrainian people want their “lives back” and for the war to come to an end with Russia leaving all Ukrainian territory behind.
“What do we want from this meeting? We want out lives back…we want to reclaim the life of a sovereign country within its own territory,” he said, adding that Russia is not serious about peace talks.
Zelenskyy’s comments come after he reaffirmed his commitment to retaking control of Crimea, the Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in 2014. Both Ukraine and Russia refuse to budge on the issue of territorial sovereignty, with Russia laying claim to Crimea and insisting that Ukraine recognize the “independence” of the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
However, Ukraine has made it clear that it will not cede any territory to Putin– effectively putting the two countries in a stalemate as fighting continues.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.