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Peace talks can’t be used as Russian cover, says UK




Any peace talks in Ukraine cannot be a fig-leaf for Russian rearmament, British foreign minister James Cleverly said today, adding that he had not seen any signs that Moscow would enter into negotiations in good faith.

Mr Cleverly said that, while Britain wanted to see peace talks “sooner rather than later”, he reiterated that Ukraine should set the parameters for any negotiations that were held.

“Any negotiations need to be real, they need to be meaningful, they can’t just be a fig leaf for Russian rearmament and further recruitment of soldiers,” Mr Cleverly told Sky News.

“I’m not really seeing anything coming from the Russian side that gives me confidence that Vladimir Putin is entering these talks in good faith. The wider rhetoric is still very confrontational.”

It comes as Russia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said the country was ramping up production of new-generation weapons to protect itself from enemies in Europe, the United States and Australia.

“We are increasing production of the most powerful means of destruction. Including those based on new principles,” Mr Medvedev said on messaging app Telegram.

“Our enemy dug in not only in the Kyiv province of our native Malorossiya,” Mr Medvedev said, using the term to describe territories of modern-day Ukraine that were part of the Russian Empire under the tsars.

“It is in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and a whole number of other places that pledged allegiance to the Nazi.”

Mr Medvedev, who serves as deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, did not provide details of the weapons.

President Vladimir Putin repeatedly said that Russia has been developing new types of weapons including hypersonic weapons that he boasts can circumvent all existing missile defence systems.

Since Mr Putin sent troops to Ukraine on 24 February, Mr Medvedev has regularly taken to social media to write increasingly bombastic posts.

With Moscow on the back foot in its offensive in pro-Western Ukraine, the military stalemate has raised fears that Russia could resort to its nuclear arsenal to achieve a military breakthrough.

On Friday, Mr Putin said Russia could amend its military doctrine by introducing the possibility of a preemptive strike to disarm an enemy, in an apparent reference to a nuclear attack.

The Kremlin chief claimed that Russia’s cruise missiles and hypersonic systems were “more modern and even more efficient” than those in the United States.


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