Ukraine's foreign minister stated Monday that his country desires a summit to stop the war. Still, he does not anticipate Russia's participation, making it difficult to envisage the invasion concluding soon.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, told the Associated Press that his administration wants a "peace" meeting at the United Nations within two months, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the mediator.
The United Nations gave a cautious response.
"As the secretary-general has stated many times in the past, he can only mediate if all parties want him to," Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez, associate spokesperson for the United Nations, said on Monday.
Kuleba stated that Russia must face a war crimes tribunal before his nation's direct negotiations with Moscow. He said, however, that other countries should feel free to engage with Russians, as was the case before the Turkey-Russia grain pact.
The AP interview provided a peek at Ukraine's perspective on how the war with Russia might one day end. Still, peace talks would be months away and highly dependent on intricate international negotiations.
Kuleba stated that he was "delighted" with the outcomes of President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to the United States last week, and he disclosed that the U.S. government had devised a unique plan to have the Patriot missile battery operational in less than six months. Training typically lasts up to a year.
During the interview at the Foreign Ministry, Kuleba stated that Ukraine would do everything possible to win the conflict in 2023.
He stated, "Every conflict ends through diplomatic means." Every conflict concludes as a result of battlefield and negotiation table acts.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, in response to Kuleba's proposal, that Russia "never obeyed criteria established by outsiders. Our own and common sense alone."
A Kremlin spokesperson stated last week that any Ukrainian peace plan must consider "the facts of today that cannot be disregarded" – a reference to Moscow's demand that Ukraine accepts Russia's sovereignty over the 2014-annexed Crimean Peninsula and other territorial advances.
The Ukrainian administration would like to have the "peace" summit by the end of February, according to Kuleba.
"The United Nations may be the greatest venue for this conference, as it is not about favoring one country over another," he stated. "The objective here is to get everyone on board."
At the November Group of 20 meeting in Bali, Zelensky presented a 10-point peace plan that includes the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, the departure of Russian soldiers, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for the aggressors, and security guarantees for Ukraine.
When asked if Ukraine would welcome Russia to the meeting, he stated that Moscow would first have to stand trial for war crimes before an international court.
Kuleba stated, "They can only be invited to this level in this manner."
Regarding the role of the UN Secretary-General, Kuleba stated, "He has demonstrated himself to be an effective mediator and negotiator, and most importantly, a man of principle and integrity. Therefore, we would welcome his involvement."
The office of the UN spokesperson had no immediate reaction.
Other world leaders, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have also offered to mediate.
The foreign minister again minimized statements by Russian authorities that they were willing to engage in dialogue.
"They [Russians] frequently assert that they are willing to negotiate, which is untrue since their actions on the battlefield demonstrate the reverse," he stated.
A few days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that his country is willing to engage in peace talks to end the conflict in Ukraine but hinted that the Ukrainians are unwilling to take this step. Despite Putin's remarks, Moscow's soldiers have continued to attack Ukraine, indicating that peace is not forthcoming.
This was Zelensky's first international journey since the conflict began on February 24. Kuleba lauded the efforts of Washington and emphasized the significance of the visit.
During the trip, Ukraine received a new $1.8 billion military aid package, which included a Patriot missile battery.
Kuleba stated that this action "opens the way for other nations to follow suit."
According to him, the U.S. government established a method that allows Ukrainian troops to complete training more quickly than usual "without compromising the quality of the weapon's use on the battlefield."
While Kuleba did not specify a timeframe, he stated that it would be "much less than six months." In addition, he noted that the training would take place "outside" of Ukraine.
During Russia's land and air conflict in Ukraine, Kuleba has been second only to Zelensky in communicating Ukraine's message and needs to an international audience via Twitter tweets and meetings with supportive foreign politicians.
On Monday, Ukraine demanded that UN member states strip Russia of its status as a permanent member of the Security Council and expel it from the international organization. Kuleba indicated that they had been "preparing for this action to expose the scam and strip Russia of its status" for quite some time.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Foreign Ministry asserts that Russia never followed the proper procedure for attaining membership and replacing the USSR on the UN Security Council.
He told the AP, "This is the beginning of an uphill battle, but we will fight because nothing is impossible."