Russia open to peace talks with Ukraine – Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he has not rejected the idea of peace talks on Ukraine.

Speaking after meeting African leaders in St Petersburg, he said African and Chinese initiatives could serve as a basis for finding peace.

Putin also said it was difficult to implement a ceasefire when the Ukrainian army was on the offensive, according to BBC.

Ukraine and Russia have previously said they will not come to the negotiating table without certain preconditions.

Kyiv said it will not concede any territory but Moscow affirmed its war-torn neighbour must accept its country’s “new territorial reality”.

Russia invaded Ukraine last year and is occupying territory in the country’s south and east.

Putin told the late-night press conference on Saturday that there were no plans to intensify action on the Ukrainian front for now.

He also defended the arrest of critical voices, claiming some people were harming Russia from inside.

Criticism of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is outlawed and most prominent opposition members are behind bars or in exile.

In the wide-ranging briefing, the Russian president also told reporters that Moscow carried out some “preventive strikes” after an explosion on a Crimean bridge earlier this month.

Following the bridge incident – which left two people dead – Putin vowed to respond to what he claimed was a “terrorist” act by Ukraine. Kyiv did not officially say it was responsible for the blast on the bridge, which links the occupied peninsula to Russia.

The Russia-Africa summit comes after an African contingent including leaders and representatives from seven countries met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Putin last month.

✍️ BBC