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Putin Sets Accepting ‘New Russian Territories’ as Condition to Hold Talks with Biden


Asharq Al-Awsat


Moscow rejected US President Joe Biden’s conditions for negotiations on Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden, speaking beside French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, said the only way to end the war in Ukraine was for Putin to pull troops out and that if Putin was looking to end the conflict then Biden would be prepared to speak to him.
“I’m prepared to speak with Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war,” Biden said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov struck a dovish tone when asked about Biden's remarks, saying that Putin remained open to negotiations but that Russia would not pull out of Ukraine.
Peskov said that the refusal of the United States to recognize “the new territories” as Russian was hindering a search for any potential compromise.
“This significantly complicates the search for mutual ground for discussions,” Peskov said.
“While military operations continue, the president of the Russian Federation has always been, is and remains open to negotiations in order to ensure our interests,” Peskov said on a conference call.
“Of course, the most preferable way to achieve our interests is through peaceful, diplomatic means.”
But he affirmed that Moscow would “certainly” not hold diplomatic talks over the US conditions.
Meanwhile, Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call on Friday, the first since mid-September, that the German and Western line on Ukraine was “destructive” and urged Berlin to rethink its approach, the Kremlin said.
“Attention was drawn to the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, which are pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons and training the Ukrainian military,” the Kremlin said.
“All this, as well as comprehensive political and financial support for Ukraine, leads to the fact that Kyiv completely rejects the idea of ​​any negotiations.”
It said Putin defended Russia's missile strikes on targets in Ukraine as a forced response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian infrastructure, including a key bridge between Russia and Crimea and Russian energy facilities.
Putin stressed that Moscow should be allowed to participate in investigations into what it called the “terrorist” attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.
He has said he has no regrets about launching what he calls Russia's “special military operation” against Ukraine, casting it as a watershed moment when Russia finally stood up to arrogant Western hegemony after decades of humiliation in the years since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

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