Russia’s Foreign Ministry told AFP that it believes lasting peace with Ukraine can only be achieved if Western countries stop supplying weapons and Kiev accepts a “new territorial reality.”
Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview that Moscow was open to negotiations, but added: “At the moment there is no political will for peace either in Kiev or in the West.”
He also said that for any agreement to be reached, Ukraine should remain neutral and the rights of its Russian-speaking population should be protected.
“We will not allow an aggressive Nazi state on our borders that poses a danger to Russia and its neighbors,” he said.
Russia has long sought to frame the pro-Western Ukrainian government, led by Jewish President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as neo-Nazis and use this as a pretext to attack Ukraine.
Maria Zakharova also rejected the “peace formula” proposed by Zelensky, which included a stipulation that Russian troops must withdraw from all of Ukraine.
He said the proposals put forward by Kiev last year “have nothing to do with peace and are a series of ultimatums for Russia to justify continued military action.”
Ukraine wants Russia to surrender
Maria Zakharova accused Kiev of not wanting to “take into account the current realities and pursue a completely different goal of surrendering our country with the support of Western countries.”
“Of course, given the situation, I am not going to talk to anyone in the Ukrainian leadership,” he added.
But Maria Zakharova added that Russia could revive the grain agreement that allows Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea only if Western sanctions on Russian agricultural companies are lifted.
“The possibility of reviving the Black Sea initiative remains,” she said in a written response to a series of questions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military into Ukraine in 2022 and imposed unprecedented Western sanctions, largely isolating Russia from the West.
Maria Zakharova said that these sanctions had the effect of “boomeranging” on Western countries and, if anything, “confirming the international authority of the Russian state.”
Since then, Moscow has diverted much of its vital oil and gas exports to China and India and imposed exchange controls to prop up the ruble, a volatile currency.
Western sanctions “boomerang”
Russia’s economy contracted in 2022, but started growing again in the second quarter of this year despite rising inflation.
“Illegal restrictions by Western countries have not weakened Russia’s geopolitical influence,” Maria Zakharova said.
This year, on the first anniversary of the conflict, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukraine.
The resolution was approved by 141 member countries, with 32 countries including China and India abstained, and seven countries including North Korea voting against it.
However, Maria Zakharova pointed out that the vast majority of the world’s population (80%) lives in countries that have not introduced sanctions against Russia.
On the contrary, Russia’s relations with many countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America are developing “steadily” despite the “desperate” efforts of the West to turn them against Russia. He said there was.
He said new systems for interbank relations, international payments and trade routes not tied to the West are “actively being developed and established.”
He said China is a “like-minded partner” in Asia and Russia seeks a relationship based on “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation.”
He said Russia was also strengthening ties with North Korea and accused the United States of “pursuing a path to increasing military activity and escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”
“This path for the United States is dangerous and has serious consequences,” she said.
During a visit to Seoul in November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that military ties between North Korea and Russia were “growing and dangerous” and called on China to keep Pyongyang in check.
Maria Zakharova said Russia supports any country whose foreign policy is out of step with the West and offers “honest and sincere cooperation, not based on arbitrary decisions.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)