Russia has said that a peace settlement with Ukraine is only possible if Kyiv “stops hostilities” and puts an end to “terrorist attacks,” according to foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
"The original foundations of Ukraine's sovereignty – its neutral, non-aligned and non-nuclear status – must be confirmed,” she added, nearly 17 months after Russia violated Ukraine’s sovereignty by launching an illegal full-scale invasion of the country.
According to the UN, as of June 19 2023, 9,083 civilians have been killed and 15,779 injured since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Since October of last year, Moscow has launched hundreds of missile and drone attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukrainian cities – in May alone, Russia launched 563 missiles and Iranian-made Shahed drones.
Zakharova also called on Kyiv to cede the territories it has illegally annexed and occupied since 2014.
“We have always been and remain open to a diplomatic solution to the crisis and are ready to respond to genuinely serious proposals,” she added.
Zakharova made the comments in response to talks held in Saudi Arabia over the weekend without Moscow's participation.
Representatives from around 40 countries including China, India, the United States and Ukraine took part in the peace summit, which was held in Jeddah.
The event seemed to upset the Kremlin which had to sit and watch from afar as countries it counts as its allies met with a Ukrainian delegation and held talks.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by the state news agency TASS as saying the summit was “a reflection of the West's attempt to continue futile, doomed efforts to mobilise the international community and more precisely, the Global South, even if not entirely, in support of the so-called Zelensky formula, which is doomed and untenable from the outset".
Zakharova is no stranger to dubious statements – last week even the Kremlin distanced itself from comments she made about the recent drone strikes on Moscow.
Speaking on the Soloviev Live TV channel, Zakharova said: “Let’s take a look at another example: the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. It caused an enormous number of casualties but the methods were the same.
“The Moscow City district is a civilian site, which only hosts offices and a business center, along with living quarters - a great number of residential apartments - as well as civilian administrative buildings that have nothing to do with the military.
“We are seeing the same picture now, as if it is repeating itself.”
The 9/11 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and completely destroyed the Twin Towers.
The drone strikes in Moscow shattered some windows and caused no casualties.
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