*** ----> Putin ‘open’ to negotiations | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Putin ‘open’ to negotiations

Agencies | Moscow                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com  

President Vladimir Putin is open to negotiations on Ukraine but the West must recognise Russia’s “new territories”, the Kremlin said yesterday, a day after US President Joe Biden said he was willing to talk if Putin were looking for a way to end the war.

Speaking after talks on Thursday at the White House with French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden said he was ready to talk to Putin “if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war”, adding the Russian leader “hasn’t done that yet”.

Biden has not spoken directly with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. In March, Biden branded Putin a “butcher” who “cannot stay in power”. In Moscow’s first public response to the overture, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “The president of the Russian Federation has always been, is and remains open to negotiations in order to ensure our interests.”

Russia has previously said it is open to peace talks. Ukraine and its allies fear any ceasefire without a total withdrawal would allow Russian forces to regroup in preparation for further attacks. Peskov said Russia will not pull out of Ukraine.

He added that the search for ways to end the war was hindered by the U.S. refusal to recognise territory in Ukraine that Russia has annexed. Putin has proclaimed the southern region of Kherson and three other partly occupied regions of Ukraine to be part of Russia, in a move condemned as illegal by most countries.

With the war in its tenth month and winter tightening its grip, Western countries are trying to boost aid for Ukraine as it reels from Russian missile and drone attacks on key energy infrastructure. Ukraine has driven Russian troops from swathes of occupied territory, including areas Russia claims to have annexed.