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Putin reiterates openness to negotiations on Ukraine, telling Ukrainian side it must say it’s ready

Source: Meduza

Interfax reports that Vladimir Putin, at a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, said that Moscow has never refused negotiations on Ukraine, but that Kyiv should explicitly say it’s ready for them.

“We’ve never refused to negotiate, so if the other side wants to, let them do it. Say so. Here, I am saying it, but it hasn’t been heard from that side,” Putin said.

The Russian president also commented on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that Vladimir Putin is not interested in “constructive diplomacy” now. “It takes two to tango,” Blinken said of possible talks.

Putin responded by saying that “the tango is good,” but that for Ukraine “it’s important not to forget the hopak (a traditional Ukrainian dance).”

“Otherwise, they will dance to someone else’s music and someone else’s tune all the time. And one way or another, everyone’s going to have to dance the barynya (a Russian folk dance). <…> As for the Americans, they don’t know how to dance this tango. It is marvelous music, the movements are beautiful. But the U.S. is trying to solve everything from a position of force, either through economic sanctions, financial restrictions, or the threat of military force. They’re trying to teach someone, but they don’t know how to do it or don’t want to,” the Russian president said.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said that it sees no possibility for negotiations with Ukraine. On September 11, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “at the moment there were and are no prerequisites for resuming the negotiation process,” adding that the Russian side and Putin “from the very beginning have been open to negotiations.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the war would continue “as long as Russia remains on Ukrainian territory.” In his opinion, a negotiated agreement would not be permanent. He also noted that those who decide to talk to Putin are “deceiving themselves.”

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