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NATO & Fruitless Talks: West Could Have Sat Down at Negotiating Table Long Ago If It Wanted - Peskov

© AFP 2023 / YURI KADOBNOVA man walks in front of a tower of the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry building in central Moscow on September 10, 2020.
A man walks in front of a tower of the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry building in central Moscow on September 10, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2023
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov recently weighed in on a variety of topics and gave insight into hot-button issues ranging from NATO actions to negotiating talks, and what the future holds for Russia going into the 2024 elections.
The West could have sat down at the negotiating table on security long ago if it wanted to, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a recent interview with the Izvestia daily, underscoring that while the talks would have been difficult, Western countries have refused to do so.
"The situation has changed radically. Even when the president, before deciding to start the special military operation, formulated draft security treaties that were sent to Washington, Brussels and Vienna, and when we, in fact, heard that they were not ready to talk about anything with us," Peskov said.
"If only they wanted, they would have sat down at the negotiating table. There would have been very complex, positional, sometimes irreconcilable talks, but they would have been under way. But they refused."
He said the Western countries' mediating potential disappears when they get involved in the conflict in Ukraine.
Peskov said that although there are forces in Ukraine that do not like the current Kiev regime, the state of affairs in the Ukrainian capital makes it impossible to hope for discussion of nuances for peaceful settlement, so the Russian special military operation continues.
However, the spokesperson further noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin remains open to any contacts that could help Moscow achieve its goals.
“President Putin was and remains open to any contacts that can help Russia achieve its own goals in one way or another. Preferably peacefully, at the negotiating table, but when this is not possible, also by military means, what we see now,” Peskov said when asked if Russia is ready for contacts with the West in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.
Earlier, Putin said Russia never refused to negotiate with Ukraine.

NATO No Longer Acts as Russia’s 'Conditional Opponent' But as Enemy

Shifting gears to the NATO alliance, Peskov remarked the bloc has switched from acting as Russia’s adversary to being an enemy, with the org's intelligence operating round the clock amid the Ukraine conflict.
"As a matter of fact, NATO is currently, as a single bloc, no longer acting as our conditional opponent, but as our enemy. Their intelligence is working against us 24 hours a day, their weapons… are supplied to Ukraine for free and shoot at our military, not to mention that they shoot at Ukrainian citizens, shell Ukrainian cities and villages," Peskov said on Monday.
Speaking to the latest commentary made by Germany and France, the Kremlin spokesperson stated Moscow has heard many statements by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron about their desire to maintain contacts with Putin but neither have presented any initiatives.
“We have heard many statements by Scholz and Macron, who said they would continue to communicate with Putin to look for some ways out of the situation," Peskov said. "However, there have been no initiatives recently."
France's President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a bilateral meeting at the 18th Francophone countries Summit in Djerba, on November 19, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2022
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Reports recently detailed that during a meeting at Elysee Palace both Scholz and Macron called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to begin considering peace talks with Moscow. Both world leaders emphasized during the meeting that "even mortal enemies like France and Germany had to make peace after World War II."

Chinese Plan on Ukraine Consistent With Russia's Approach on Ensuring Security

The Chinese plan on Ukraine in terms of ensuring security is consistent with Russia's approach, commented, referring to Beijing's recent 12-point position paper on the ongoing Ukraine conflict.
During the interview, Peskov said that in order to return to Russia's participation in the New START Treaty, the US-led collective West must change its conceptual approach to understanding Russia's security concerns. The security of one country cannot be ensured at the expense of another, he explained.
"This is a very important ideological point in the Chinese plan, which is certainly consistent with our approach," the spokesman said.
On February 21, Putin delivered an address to the Federal Assembly. During his speech, the head of state announced that Russia was suspending participation in the New START Treaty. On the same day, Stoltenberg expressed regret on behalf of the alliance over Russia's decision and urged Moscow to reconsider it.
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The Chinese Foreign Ministry published on February 24 a statement on the political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, containing 12 points. It included the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, the resumption of direct dialogue between Moscow and Kiev, and a call to prevent further escalation.
Peskov said China's position is important and praised Beijing for voicing it.

Russian Economy & 2024 Election

Turning to the looming 2024 election cycle in Russia, Peskov went on to comment that Putin has not made any statements regarding his candidacy in the 2024 presidential elections, adding the Russian leader has a lot of other issues to focus on at the moment.
"Towards the end, by the middle of the second half of this year, we will enter the electoral season one way or another. So far, there are no pre-election or electoral moods. Putin has a lot to do. He’s definitely not up to it now," Peskov said on Monday.
"We haven't heard from him [Putin] so far, any statements where he would talk about nominating or not nominating his candidacy. It is still a little premature. You just need to be patient."
Russian President Vladimir Putin  - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.11.2021
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Weighing in on the state of the Russian economy, the spokesperson pointed out it was skillfully buffered so no one felt any serious changes after the imposition of Western sanctions.

“COVID plus the terrible sanctions blow that followed after the start of the special military operation [in Ukraine]. We didn't collapse," Peskov said. "Everything was skillfully cushioned - so that actually no one felt anything."

He said Russia's economy will enter the growth trajectory in 2024-2025.
Peskov also stated Russia is theoretically ready to initiate a new agreement that will replace the one that made the US dollar the world's key currency, but acknowledged it would take time.
“I think, theoretically, Russia is ready to do this now, but we will not have a chance to succeed. We need time. The process of de-dollarization is now under way,” Peskov said in an interview with the Izvestia daily.
Earlier February, US and its allies issued a new round of sanctions against Moscow over its special military operation. The Russian Foreign Ministry previously detailed it was working on measures to respond in kind, emphasizing Western restrictions were yet another attempt to isolate Russia from the global economy.
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