Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that an African initiative could be the basis for peace in Ukraine, but that Ukrainian attacks made it difficult to realize.
He was speaking at a news conference after meeting African leaders in St. Petersburg on Friday and hearing their calls for Moscow to go ahead with its plan.
“There are provisions of this peace initiative that are being implemented,” he said. “But there are things that are difficult or impossible to implement.”
Reuters reported in June that African mediation in the conflict could begin with confidence-building measures followed by a ceasefire agreement accompanied by negotiations between Russia and the West.
Putin said that one of the points of the initiative was a ceasefire. “But the Ukrainian army is on the offensive, it is attacking, it is implementing a large-scale strategic offensive operation… We cannot cease fire when we are under attack.”
On the question of starting peace talks, he said: “We do not reject them… For this process to start, there must be an agreement from both parties.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has now rejected the idea of a ceasefire that would leave Russia in control of nearly a fifth of his country and give his forces time to regroup after a grueling 17 months of war.
Ukraine says fighting in the east has intensified
Moscow says 700,000 children from Ukraine’s conflict zones are now in Russia
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