British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told The Telegraph that Putin “may pretend to be involved in negotiations when he is actually training more troops and sending more ammunition” to Ukraine.
The Telegraph quoted Cleverly as saying that there is a possibility that “Putin will only take advantage of the ceasefire to train more forces, produce more ammunition, and re-equip and arm his armed forces after the damage they have suffered.”
The minister’s comments came after the Kremlin said, on Friday, that Putin was “open to negotiations” over Ukraine, but that “the West must accept Moscow’s demands,” a day after US President Joe Biden said he was ready for dialogue if his Russian counterpart was looking for a way to end the war. .
Biden said after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House on Thursday that he was ready to talk to Putin “if there is a real interest on his part that he decides to seek a way to end the war,” adding that the Russian leader “has not done that yet.”
Moscow’s first public response to Biden’s statements:
• Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “The president was and remains open to negotiations in order to guarantee our interests.”
• However, Peskov added that the US refusal to recognize Russia’s annexation of lands in Ukraine hinders the search for ways to end the war.
• The Kremlin said that Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call on Friday that the Western approach to Ukraine is “destructive” and urged Berlin to reconsider its stance.
Moscow has previously sought major security guarantees, including a reversal of NATO’s eastward expansion.
There has been no direct dialogue between Biden and Putin since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, and in March the US president described his Russian counterpart as a “butcher” and “cannot remain in power.”
After more than 9 months of fighting, and with the winter getting colder, Western countries are now trying to boost their aid to Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russian missiles and drones targeting energy infrastructure, leaving millions without heat, electricity or water.
The Ukrainian General Staff said in its latest data on the field situation that fighting is still raging in eastern Ukraine, where Russian artillery is mainly targeting the town of Bakhmut, while Russian forces are still in a defensive position in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhya.
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