Kremlin responds to Erdogan, says Putin 'open to negotiating' with Ukraine

Turkish President had earlier said that Putin appeared to be “much softer and more open to negotiations” on ending the war in Ukraine than in the past.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo | AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo | AP)

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has been open for negotiations with Ukraine “from the very beginning,” and “nothing has changed” in that respect, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday, commenting on remarks made by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“If you remember, President Putin tried to initiate talks with both NATO and the United States even before the special military operation,” Peskov said, referring to Russia's aggression against Ukraine that started almost eight months ago.

“Putin was open to negotiations when a document was almost agreed on between Russian and Ukrainian (negotiators). So in that respect, nothing has changed. The position of the Ukrainian side has changed. Ukrainian law now prohibits any negotiations.”

This comes after Erdogan had earlier said that Putin appeared to be “much softer and more open to negotiations” than in the past. “We are not without hope,” he said of the possibility of negotiations to end the conflict.

The Turkish leader, who has held meetings with Putin during the war, says he is optimistic that a U.N.- and Turkish-brokered deal that allowed the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to world markets can be extended. Erdogan told a group of journalists that he had discussed extending the grain corridor deal with both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Meanwhile, Russian officials have repeatedly said they will not negotiate the return of the four Ukrainian regions Moscow illegally annexed last month. After the land grab, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ruled out any talks with Moscow as long as Putin remains president.

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