The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Kremlin emphasizes willingness to negotiate after Pope’s interview

Following Pope Francis' controversial interview on Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin has emphasized its willingness to negotiate an end to the conflict.

According to Russian news agencies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Russia does not understand the Pope's comments in the interview with Swiss television as a call for Ukraine to capitulate, but as a plea for negotiations. Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin had repeatedly spoken of being ready and open to negotiations. "This is the preferred path," said Peskov.

The Pope had triggered massive opposition with a misleading appeal for peace negotiations in Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. In the interview, the 87-year-old also used the phrase "white flag" - the sign of surrender in times of war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected the Pope's appeal. Western politicians and observers have expressed doubts in the past that Moscow is seriously prepared to engage in talks.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Peskov accused the West, and France in particular, of further inflaming tensions in the conflict by discussing the deployment of ground troops in Ukraine. "This is a dangerous line, a very dangerous one," said Peskov. Russia was following this closely.

The Russian services already have information that there are forces on the territory of Ukraine that describe themselves as advisors but have direct links to NATO.

Following an international conference of Ukraine supporters in Paris, which was attended by numerous heads of state and government, French President Emmanuel Macron had previously stated: "There is no consensus today on officially deploying ground troops." However, he added: "But nothing can be ruled out in the dynamic. We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war."

©Keystone/SDA

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