The United States on Friday dismissed Russia’s offer of talks with Ukraine, and called on Moscow to show its commitment to diplomacy by withdrawing troops from the country.
After invading Ukraine, “now we see Moscow suggesting diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun. This is not real diplomacy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
The Kremlin said earlier Friday that President Vladimir Putin was ready to send a delegation to the Belarus capital Minsk for talks with Ukraine, as Russian forces approached Kyiv on the second day of Moscow’s invasion.
While Ukraine has not officially responded, the US also noted that the discussions would be held in Belarus, a close Russian ally which has permitted Russian troops to use its territory to attack Ukraine.
Price said that, since before the invasion, Moscow has only engaged in the “pretense of diplomacy.”
“We and our allies have called for a real diplomatic solution from day one. If President Putin is serious about diplomacy, he knows what he can do,” Price told reporters.
“We want to make clear to President Putin that diplomacy by the barrel of a gun, coercive diplomacy is not something we will take part in, and not something that will bring an end to this conflict in a real, genuine and sustainable way.”
With inputs from NDTV