LONDON (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Thursday that Moscow was still waiting for Ukraine’s response to Russia’s latest written proposal in peace talks between the two sides, and questioned why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was unaware of the document.
Zelenskiy said on Wednesday he had not seen or heard about the text the Kremlin said it had sent.
“I repeat once again, as I said yesterday, our formulations, in fact the latest version, were handed to our opponents, to the Ukrainian negotiating delegation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Peskov said the Kremlin was aware of Zelenskiy’s comment, “which also raises certain questions about why no one is reporting to President Zelenskiy about our versions of the text”.
The comments from the two sides appeared to highlight both the gulf in their positions and the poor state of communication between them, eight weeks after Russia sent its troops and tanks into Ukraine and more than three weeks after they last held face-to-face talks on March 29.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 12 that the talks had come to a dead end. Ukraine’s chief negotiator said on Tuesday it was hard to predict when they might resume because of Russia’s siege of Mariupol and what he said was Moscow’s desire to strengthen its position through a new military offensive.
Russia says it was forced to launch its “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine, and protect Russian-speakers there from “genocide” – arguments denounced by Kyiv and the West as baseless pretexts for war.
Moscow wants Kyiv to accept the loss of Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014, and of the eastern Donbas region which is now the focus of the Russian offensive. Ukraine says it will not compromise on its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
(This story corrects typo in Zelenskiy’s first name in first paragraph)
(Writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)