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Meeting between Putin, Zelensky would be ‘counterproductive’ right now, top Russian diplomat says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday said a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would be “counterproductive” until there is “clarity” on outstanding issues between the countries. 

“Just meeting and having a ‘what you think and what I think’ sort of exchange would simply be counterproductive now,” Lavrov told Serbian media, according to The Washington Post, citing Interfax.

“The main thing now is to stop indulging the Ukrainians, who only want to create the pretense of negotiations, the pretense of a solution. Their ability to imitate the process is well known to us, this time they will not be able to get away with it this way,” he added.

Lavrov said a meeting between the two leaders “is needed as soon as we have clarity on all key issues,” according to TASS Russian News Agency.

Those comments are similar to remarks from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov last week, who said “homework has to be done” and “talks have to be held and their results agreed upon” before a potential meeting between Putin and Zelensky.

Peskov at the time said “no significant progress” had been made on that front. Again on Monday, Peskov told reporters “there is no progress” on arranging a meeting between Putin and Zelensky, according to TASS Russian News Agency.

The recent discussion regarding a potential Putin-Zelensky meeting comes as delegations from Russia and Ukraine are scheduled to meet in Turkey this week for another round of peace talks.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February after Putin launched what he calls a “special military operation,” entered its second month on Thursday. Moscow’s efforts have been stymied in some areas because of staunch Ukrainian opposition.

Estimates of the death toll from the war vary widely, but dozens of children are among the hundreds of Ukrainian civilians who have been killed, while thousands of Russian soldiers have also died. 

Tags Dmitry Peskov peace talks Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelenskiy

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