Putin urges Ukraine to “come to a negotiation table” in US interview

Putin urges Ukraine to “come to a negotiation table” in US interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is open to discussion and urges Ukraine to sit down for negotiations reports Asharq Al-Awsat and agencies.

Putin sat down for his first interview with a Western media figure, former Fox News host, Tucker Carlson, since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago. The meeting, which took place on the 8th of February, was Putin’s chance to persuade Washington to recognise Moscow’s interests and urge Ukraine to sit down for talks.

READ: Washington condemns Xi visit of “dear friend” Putin

Most of the interview focused on Ukraine, where Putin pointed out Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s refusal to conduct talks with the Kremlin. He argued that it was Washington’s responsibility to stop supplying Ukraine with weapons and convince Kyiv, which he called a US “satellite”, to sit down for negotiations.

“We have never refused negotiations,” Putin said. “You should tell the current Ukrainian leadership to stop and come to a negotiating table.”

In order to persuade Washington to recognise Moscow’s interests, Putin has negotiated a potential prisoner exchange that would free Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

In March 2023, two journalists working for US news organisations were detained in Russia. Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Alsu Kurmasheva are currently imprisoned in Russia’s Lefortovo prison in the southern city of Kazan.

Though Putin said Moscow is open to talks, he repeated that the reporter was charged with espionage, an accusation Gershkovich has denied. “He was caught red-handed when he was secretly getting classified information,” Putin said of Gershkovich, adding that he doesn’t exclude that the reporter could return home.

READ: Russia denies torture of Ukrainians amidst UN inquiry

Putin stated, “we are ready to solve it but there are certain conditions that are being discussed between special services. I believe an agreement can be reached”. He continued saying “There is no taboo on settling this issue”.

He pointed to a man imprisoned in a “US-allied country” for “liquidating a bandit” who killed Russian soldiers during the fighting in the Caucasus: “He put our soldiers taken prisoners on a road and then drove a car over their heads. There was a patriot who liquidated him in one of the European capitals.”

Though Putin didn’t mention names, he appeared to refer to Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany after being convicted of the 2019 brazen daylight killing of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity.

German judges who convicted Krasikov said he had acted on the orders of Russian federal authorities, who provided him with a false identity, a fake passport and the resources to carry out the hit.

Asharq Al-Awsat and Agencies.


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