Not enough progress in Moscow-Kyiv talks for Putin-Zelensky meeting thus far - Peskov
MOSCOW. March 21 (Interfax) - Progress seen in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine is not sufficient thus far to discuss direct contacts between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and is inconsistent with how the situation is developing for Ukraine, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
"The degree of progress in the negotiations perhaps is not what would be desirable and not what the development of the situation for the Ukrainian side would call for," Peskov told journalists on Monday, when asked about the state of the negotiating process and whether the parties have managed to reach some common ground.
He declined to give any details of the negotiations.
Speaking about prospects for contacts between the two leaders, Peskov said, "To begin speaking about a meeting between the two presidents, the homework should be done first, namely negotiations should be held and their results agreed upon."
"No significant progress has been ensured thus far. They [Putin and Zelensky] would simply have nothing to formalize, there are no agreements that they could formalize," he said.
Mediators in arranging direct negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should use their influence on Kyiv to make it more constructive and amenable, Peskov said.
"Those who can do it should use their influence on Kyiv to make Kyiv more amenable, more constructive in these negotiations," he told journalists, when asked what he believes the countries offering their mediating efforts should focus on above all.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin is not considering the declaration of a ceasefire in Ukraine during Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, Peskov said.
"No. As a matter of fact, any suspension of the operation is taken advantage of by [Ukrainian] nationalistic units to regroup and continue attacks on the Russian military," Peskov said, in reply to the relevant question.
The Ukrainian side has repeatedly violated ceasefires, Peskov said. "This has happened on multiple occasions, and therefore, certainly, this complicates the process," he said.
During a press briefing, Peskov was asked what Russia's attitude will be if one of the NATO countries decides to conduct a peacekeeping operation on the territory of Ukraine bypassing a UN Security Council decision. "Negative. Essentially, President Putin said that in his night address to citizens of Russia and the whole world. It's enough just to re-read it, and especially the part where he talked about the hypothetical possibility of someone deciding to interfere in the special military operation from the outside," Peskov said.
Everything was stated "clearly" in that speech, he said.