Putin slams 'pointless' meet as Zelensky presses West

2024-01-18 11:34:30China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Ukraine's statehood could suffer an "irreparable blow" if the pattern of the conflict continued, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged political and business leaders facing conflict fatigue in the West to offer aid in Davos, Switzerland.

Putin made the comments a day after Switzerland agreed to host a global meeting later this year at the request of Zelensky.

Putin dismissed "so-called peace formulas" being discussed in the West and Ukraine and what he called the "prohibitive demands "they entailed.

"Well, if they don't want (to negotiate), then don't!" he said. "Now it is quite obvious, not only (Ukraine's) counteroffensive failed, but the initiative is completely in the hands of the Russian armed forces. If this continues, Ukrainian statehood may suffer an irreparable, very serious blow."

A peace formula put forward by Zelensky calls for the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine, recognition of its 1991 post-Soviet borders and a mechanism to bring Moscow to account, media reported.

Putin said talk of negotiation was "an attempt to motivate us to abandon the gains that we have realized over the past year and a half. But this is impossible. Everyone understands that this is impossible."

The Kremlin said any negotiation would have to take account of the "new realities" created by its forces on the ground.

Zelensky promoted his peace plan on Tuesday during his speech at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling for the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Russian troops, among other points.

Zelensky called for stiffer sanctions on Russia. But in contrast to his comments at the forum last year, he made no direct appeals for weaponry for new offensives on the battlefield.

Zelensky highlighted his country's plan to end the conflict, an initiative called the "Peace Formula", which has gained the backing of dozens of countries. But those countries do not include Russia. Moscow has rejected its terms.

Differences exposed

Russia's Foreign Ministry's website said the meeting in Davos had exposed differences between participants and produced no increase in support for the proposals.

"All such meetings … including the Davos gathering and those to follow it, are pointless and harmful for settling the Ukrainian crisis."

Also on Tuesday, Putin met the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's top diplomat at the Kremlin in the latest sign of deepening ties between the two neighbors.

Putin met the DPRK's Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui on Tuesday in Moscow, the Kremlin said. Pictures of the meeting were broadcast on state TV, but the Kremlin did not provide any details of the discussions.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Choe hailed the strengthening of ties between the two nations in a separate meeting.


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