AP Interview: Ukraine’s foreign minister aims for peace summit in February
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Monday that his nation wanted a summit to end the war but he did not anticipate Russia’s participation, a statement that made it difficult to foresee a devastating invasion. will soon end.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Associated Press that his government wants a “peaceful” summit within two months at the United Nations with Secretary-General António Guterres as mediator.
Kuleba said that Russia must face a war crimes court before his country negotiates directly with Moscow. However, he said other countries should feel free to communicate with the Russians, as happened before the grain deal between Turkey and Russia.
The AP interview provides a glimpse into Ukraine’s vision of how the war with Russia could one day end, although any peace talks would take months and heavily dependent on complex international negotiations.
Kuleba also said he was “absolutely satisfied” with the results of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the US last week, and revealed that the US government had a special plan to get the Patriot missile system ready. operate in this country for a shorter period of time. more than six months. Usually, the training process lasts up to a year.
Kuleba said in the interview at the State Department that Ukraine will do whatever it can to win the war by 2023.
“Every war ends diplomatically,” he said. Every war ends as a result of actions taken on the battlefield and on the negotiating table.”
Commenting on Kuleba’s proposal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state news agency RIA Novosti that Russia “never follows the conditions set by others. There is only common sense and our own.
A Kremlin spokesman said last week that no Ukrainian peace plan could succeed without taking into account “today’s realities that cannot be ignored” – a reference to Moscow’s demand that Ukraine recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula, annexed in 2014, as well as other territorial interests.
Kuleba said the Ukrainian government wants to hold a “peaceful” summit at the end of February.
“The United Nations might be the best venue for this summit, because it’s not about supporting one country,” he said. “This is really about getting people on board.”
At the Group of 20 summit in Bali in November, Zelenskyy presented from a distance a 10-point peace formula that includes restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, withdrawing Russian troops, freeing all prisoners, the court for those people. responsible for the act of aggression and for ensuring the security of Ukraine.
When asked if Ukraine would invite Russia to the summit, he said that Moscow would first face prosecution for war crimes in an international court.
“They can only be invited to this step this way,” Kuleba said.
Regarding the role of UN Secretary-General, Kuleba said: “He has proven himself to be an effective mediator and negotiator, and most importantly, a man of principle and integrity. Therefore, we welcome his active participation.”
The United Nations spokesman’s office was not immediately available for comment.
Other world leaders have also offered to mediate, such as in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The Foreign Minister again downplayed the Russian authorities’ comment that they were ready for negotiations.
“They (the Russians) regularly say they are ready to negotiate, which is not true, because everything they do on the battlefield proves otherwise,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a few days ago that his country is ready to negotiate to end the war in Ukraine, but suggested that it was the Ukrainians who refused to take that step. Despite Putin’s comments, Moscow’s forces continued to attack Ukraine – a sign that peace is not imminent.
Zelenskyy’s visit to the United States was his first foreign trip since the war began on February 24. Kuleba praised Washington’s efforts and stressed the importance of the visit.
Ukraine received a new $1.8 billion military aid package, including a Patriot missile system, during the trip.
Kuleba said the move “opens the door for other countries to do the same.”
He said the US government had developed a program for the Ukrainian military to complete training faster than usual, “without any damage to the quality of using this weapon on the battlefield”.
Although Kuleba didn’t mention a specific timeframe, he only said it would be “a lot less than six months.” And he added that the training will be carried out “outside” Ukraine.
In Russia’s ground and air wars in Ukraine, Kuleba is second only to Zelenskyy in conveying Ukraine’s message and the needs of the international population, whether through Twitter posts or meetings with political leaders. friendly foreign officials.
On Monday, Ukraine called on UN member states to strip Russia of its permanent membership in the UN Security Council and remove Russia from the world organization. Kuleba said it has been “preparing for this step for a long time to expose the fraud and disqualify Russia”.
The State Department said that Russia never passed the legal procedure to become a member and replace the Soviet Union in the United Nations Security Council after the Soviet Union collapsed.
“This is the beginning of an uphill battle, but we will fight, because nothing is impossible,” he told AP.
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