Putin ready for peace negotiations – but Zelenskyy hesitates

The Ukraine conflict could escalate further, according to the Kremlin. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accuses the West of steadily fanning the flames of the conflict and expressed concern during a military forum in China about the possibility of a direct military clash between nuclear powers with catastrophic consequences.

However, he emphasized that certain conditions must be met to enable negotiations on ending the war in Ukraine. Shoigu stressed the importance of balanced relations among all nuclear powers in the UN Security Council, as reported by the German news website Merkur. According to the Russian news agency tass.ru, he said: “If the necessary conditions are created, we are ready for political talks – both on resolving the Ukraine conflict and on coexistence with the West.” The minister also criticized NATO countries for promoting an arms race in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing their military presence and the frequency and scope of military exercises. Shoigu claimed that the U.S. forces use information exchange with Tokyo and Seoul about missile launches to intimidate Russia and China.

Zelenskyy wants Crimea back

Since the start of the war, efforts have been made to bring Russia to the negotiating table. President Putin has so far only expressed his willingness to negotiate and called on the U.S. to pressure Ukraine to initiate talks. The Ukrainian side has so far shown only limited interest in talks with Russia. President Zelenskyy was especially willing to negotiate over the annexed Crimea.

However, according to security experts, Zelenskyy views Crimea as a negotiating topic only after the Russian army has left the peninsula. Crimea, alongside Bakhmut and Avdiivka, has now become one of the most fiercely contested areas in the Ukraine conflict. Liberating Crimea is seen as a primary objective of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Image: Kremlin.ru, Vladimir Putin (2022-10-28), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (image size modified)

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