Scholz weighs in on Ukraine peace talksSeveral countries are holding talks on Ukraine at the level of security advisers, Olaf Scholz has said Read Full Article at RT.com

Security advisers from several countries are looking at ways to kick-start the process of ending the conflict, the German chancellor has said

Senior officials from several countries are holding non-public talks to resolve the Ukraine conflict, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said. The Kremlin, however, is not taking part in those consultations, according to spokesman Dmitry Peskov. 

In an interview with the daily Markische Allgemeine on Thursday, the German leader was asked about the prospects for settling or at least freezing the hostilities and responded by saying that “there have always been mediation initiatives.”

He specifically mentioned the direct talks between Moscow and Kiev early in the conflict that collapsed in the spring of 2022. Russia has said that while the negotiations – which revolved around Ukraine’s neutrality – made some initial progress, Kiev decided to abandon them on the advice of former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recommended that Ukraine keep fighting. Johnson has denied this claim.

Scholz also claimed that there had been dialogue about the security of Russia’s Zaporozhye nuclear power plant – which Moscow said had come under Ukrainian attacks – and prisoner exchanges that saw hundreds of soldiers from both sides return home. 

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Moreover, the chancellor continued, “a number of countries, including Ukraine, are currently discussing at the level of security advisers what something that could lead to a peace process might look like.”

However, Scholz stressed that “peace is possible at any time” if Russia were to withdraw troops from the territory Ukraine claims as its own. Moscow maintains it is open to talks with Kiev provided that it recognizes the reality on the ground. However, President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current Russian leadership after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in the autumn of 2022.

Responding to Scholz’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Russian officials were not present at the aforementioned negotiations at the level of security advisers. He also remarked that the chancellor’s statement “does not change the essence of the ongoing events,” recalling that Germany remains one of Kiev’s most prominent backers.

Peskov pointed out that while various EU countries differ in opinion on how deeply they should be involved in the Ukraine crisis, “this does not change the dominant approach in Europe that Ukraine should be pushed to fight to the last Ukrainian.”

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