If Russia and Ukraine resume negotiations, these peace talks should take place under a bilateral mechanism, without intermediaries.
In an interview with Tass news agency on January 12, the director of the Department of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexey Polishchuk, said that direct peace talks are the best way to end the conflict. conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“If Russia and Ukraine resume negotiations, those negotiations will most likely be in the direct form. This is the best option because of the fact that Western intermediaries often pursue their own goals. and seek to influence the negotiation process, they act not for the sake of conflict resolution but for their economic and political interests,” said Alexey Polishchuk.
The Russian diplomat said that negotiations earlier last year between the two sides were also in a direct form. In which, 3 rounds of dialogue were held in Belarus and one in Turkey, followed by almost daily online exchanges.
Peace talks between Moscow and Kiev have been deadlocked since talks in Istanbul, Turkey at the end of March 2022. Since then, the two sides have continued to declare their readiness to negotiate to end the conflict, but have not been able to resume because both Russia and Ukraine have offered conditions that the other side does not accept.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky outlined a 10-point “peace formula” that requires Russia to withdraw all its troops and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Moscow has rejected these offers, saying any exchanges that do not take into account the “new territorial realities” cannot be considered peace talks. The fact that the new territory Moscow is referring to is that the four Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia have been merged into Russia after controversial referendums.
The scenario of Belarus participating in the Ukraine conflict
In the interview, Aleksey Polishchuk also mentioned the scenario that Belarus could participate in the military operation in Ukraine if attacked.
“From a legal perspective, Kiev’s use of military force to attack Belarusian territory could be the basis for a collective response,” he said. He also emphasized that the final decision will be made by the leaders of the two countries.
Belarus is an ally of Russia. The militaries of the two countries have conducted many joint exercises before and after Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. Belarus accuses the West of trying to involve it in the Ukraine conflict. However, President Alexander Lukashenko insisted that Belarus would not get directly involved in the war unless other countries wanted to fight Minsk.
Russia has recently sent its forces to Belarus for joint exercises. Polishchuk said the drills were aimed at deterring “potential adversaries from escalation and provocation”. However, Kiev is concerned that Russia may launch a new attack on Ukraine through Belarus.