The AP Interview: Ukraine FM aims for February peace summit

Dec 25, 2022, 7:46 PM | Updated: Dec 26, 2022, 8:55 pm
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba talks during an interview with The Associated Press in Kyi...

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba talks during an interview with The Associated Press in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s foreign minister said Monday that his nation wants a summit to end the war but he doesn’t anticipate Russia taking part, a statement making it hard to foresee the devastating invasion ending soon.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press that his government wants a “peace” summit within two months at the United Nations with Secretary-General António Guterres as mediator.

The U.N. gave a very cautious response.

“As the secretary-general has said many times in the past, he can only mediate if all parties want him to mediate,” U.N. associate spokesperson Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez said Monday.

Kuleba said Russia must face a war-crimes tribunal before his country directly talks with Moscow. He said, however, that other nations should feel free to engage with Russians, as happened before a grain agreement between Turkey and Russia.

The AP interview offered a glimpse at Ukraine’s vision of how the war with Russia could one day end, although any peace talks would be months away and highly contingent on complex international negotiations.

Kuleba also said he was “absolutely satisfied” with the results of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. last week, and he revealed that the U.S. government had made a special plan to get the Patriot missile battery ready to be operational in the country in less than six months. Usually, the training takes up to a year.

Kuleba said during the interview at the Foreign Ministry that Ukraine will do whatever it can to win the war in 2023.

“Every war ends in a diplomatic way,” he said. “Every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”

Commenting on Kuleba’s proposal, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Russia “never followed conditions set by others. Only our own and common sense.”

A Kremlin spokesman said last week that no Ukrainian peace plan can succeed without taking into account “the realities of today that can’t be ignored” — a reference to Moscow’s demand that Ukraine recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed in 2014, as well as other territorial gains.

Kuleba said the Ukrainian government would like to have the “peace” summit by the end of February.

“The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favor to a certain country,” he said. “This is really about bringing everyone on board.”

At the Group of 20 summit in Bali in November, Zelenskyy made a long-distance presentation of a 10-point peace formula that includes the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for those responsible for the aggression and security guarantees for Ukraine.

Asked about whether Ukraine would invite Russia to the summit, he said that Moscow would first need to face prosecution for war crimes at an international court.

“They can only be invited to this step in this way,” Kuleba said.

About the U.N. Secretary-General’s role, Kuleba said: “He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation.”

The U.N. spokesman’s office had no immediate comment.

Other world leaders have also offered to mediate, such as those in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The foreign minister again downplayed comments by Russian authorities that they are ready for talks.

“They (Russians) regularly say that they are ready for negotiations, which is not true, because everything they do on the battlefield proves the opposite,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed few days ago that his country is ready for talks to end the war in Ukraine, but suggested that the Ukrainians are the ones refusing to take that step. Despite Putin’s comments, Moscow’s forces have kept attacking Ukraine — a sign that peace isn’t imminent.

Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. was his first foreign trip since the war started on Feb. 24. Kuleba praised Washington’s efforts and underlined the significance of the visit.

Ukraine secured a new $1.8 billion military aid package, including a Patriot missile battery, during the trip.

Kuleba said that the move “opens the door for other countries to do the same.”

He said that the U.S. government developed a program for Ukrainian troops to complete training faster than usual “without any damage to the quality of the use of this weapon on the battlefield.”

While Kuleba didn’t mention a specific time frame, he said only that it will be “very much less than six months.” And he added that the training will be done “outside” Ukraine.

During Russia’s ground and air war in Ukraine, Kuleba has been second only to Zelenskyy in carrying Ukraine’s message and needs to an international audience, whether through Twitter posts or meetings with friendly foreign officials.

On Monday, Ukraine called on U.N. member states to deprive Russia of its status as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and to exclude it from the world body. Kuleba said they have long “prepared for this step to uncover the fraud and deprive Russia of its status.”

The Foreign Ministry says that Russia never went through the legal procedure for acquiring membership and taking the place of the USSR at the U.N. Security Council after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“This is the beginning of an uphill battle, but we will fight, because nothing is impossible,” he told the AP.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
11 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
11 hours ago
Jason Jimenez and Jess Kurtz load the Belmont goats from SE Belmont and 11th for transport to SE Fo...
Associated Press

Famed Portland goats let loose in protest of homeless sweep

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A herd of city goats well-known in Portland, Oregon, were temporarily set free Tuesday morning in what appeared to be an act of protest against a planned sweep of a nearby homeless encampment. The fence of the goats’ enclosure in north Portland was cut, allowing them to get out. The Oregonian/OregonLive […]
1 day ago
FILE - This booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Texas death ro...
Associated Press

Man who fatally shot 3 Texas teens in 1998 faces execution

HOUSTON (AP) — An inmate convicted of killing three teenagers while they slept in a Texas Panhandle home more than 25 years ago faces execution Wednesday amid allegations that his trial was marred by racial bias. It had been unclear whether John Balentine’s execution, scheduled for Wednesday evening at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, […]
1 day ago
Alex Murdaugh sheds a tear as his the scene where his family was found dead during his double murde...
Associated Press

Paralegal angry by Alex Murdaugh theft, knew he loved family

Alex Murdaugh’s paralegal testified Wednesday at his double murder trial about the betrayal she felt when she discovered he lied and manipulated to steal millions of dollars from clients. But Annette Griswold also told jurors Murdaugh was a dedicated family man so distraught after his wife and son were killed he could no longer stay […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Norwegian minister apologizes over TikTok on her work phone

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway’s justice minister apologized Wednesday for having failed to admit, when quizzed in Parliament, that she had installed and used TikTok on her government-issued phone. The popular video-sharing app is Chinese owned, which has raised fears in the West that Beijing could use it to scoop up user data or push […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
The AP Interview: Ukraine FM aims for February peace summit