Kremlin says talks with Zelenskiy possible, but negotiations stalled

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June 1 (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday that it did not rule out a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy, but that any such talks needed to be prepared in advance.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a call that work on a peace document with Ukraine had stopped a long time ago and had not restarted.

Peskov said that people in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donbas must decide their own futures and the Kremlin did not doubt they would make the “best decision”. Ukraine has previously said that annexation of the regions by Russia would end peace talks between the two sides.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday the world could be on the verge of a major food crisis, blaming “illegal restrictions” imposed on Russia by Western countries and decisions by Ukrainian authorities.

Children and adolescents of the Youth for Peace, the youth movement of the Community of Sant’Egidio, demonstrates for peace at Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy, 01 June 2022. EPA-EFE/CLAUDIO PERI

More than three months since invading Ukraine, Russia has seized large parts of its neighbour’s coast and is blockading its ports, but is trying to pin the blame for the lack of grain shipments on Western sanctions and on Kyiv itself.

“We are potentially on the verge of a very deep food crisis linked to the introduction of illegal restrictions against us and the actions of Ukrainian authorities who have mined the path to the Black Sea and are not shipping grain from there despite Russia not impeding in any way,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Russia on Wednesday sharply criticised a U.S. decision to supply advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine, warning of an increased risk of direct confrontation with Washington.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “We believe that the United States is purposefully and diligently adding fuel to the fire.”

When asked how Russia would respond if Ukraine used U.S.-supplied rockets to strike Russian territory, Peskov said: “Let’s not talk about worst-case scenarios”.

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