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Russia ready for peace talks but warns against ultimatums

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia has never refused to hold peace talks with Ukraine.

He insists that it is rather Ukraine who cut the negotiations short and opted to fight, instigated by its “Western handlers.”

“Russia has been cheated when it withdrew its forces from the proximity of the Ukrainian capital in spring 2022 as a precondition for negotiations,” Putin told reporters in Harbin on Friday on the last stop of a two-day state visit to China.

The Russian leader says he has discussed the issue of a Ukraine agreement with his host, Chinese President Xi Jinping and was impressed by Xi’s stance on the matter, describing it as sincere and flexible.

“We have the basis for the negotiation process, the things we agreed upon in Istanbul,” Putin states and adds it was Ukraine and her Western allies who “have thrown all accords into a garbage bin.”

Putin, however, declined to speculate under which conditions his country would take part at the conference to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in June.

“Russia has not been invited there. Moscow would never accept an ultimatum,” he adds.

He also praised in principle the idea of the Olympic truce in Ukraine put forward by French President Emanuel Macron during his recent summit with Xi but added that such a ceasefire had ever only been observed by the Ancient Greeks.

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