Ukraine rules out ceding territory to Russia to secure peace

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KYIV, July 13 (Reuters) – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday ruled out ceding territory to Russia as part of any peace deal and said no peace talks were under way between Moscow and Kyiv.

“The objective of Ukraine in this war… is to liberate our territories, restore our territorial integrity, and full sovereignty in the east and south of Ukraine,” he told a briefing.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it hoped President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia would not be used to try to foster anti-Russian relations, just as the United States seeks to convince Riyadh to boost oil production amid soaring prices.

A picture taken during a visit to Severodonetsk organised by the Russian military shows Soviet Red flag flies near the city name stele reading ‘Severodonets’and painted in colours of the Russian National flag, in Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu on 04 July 2022 reported to Russian President Putin that the Russian Armed Forces and the People’s Militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) established full control over the territories of the self-proclaimed LPR within the administrative boundaries of the Luhansk region. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that Biden will make the case for greater oil production from OPEC nations to bring down gasoline prices when he meets Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia this week. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, highly valued cooperation with Saudi Arabia within the framework of OPEC+ group of world’s leading oil producers.

“We are within the framework of the OPEC + agreements, and we highly appreciate the work that we manage to do with our partners, including with leading partners such as Saudi Arabia,” he told a daily conference call with reporters.

“We highly appreciate our relations and our interaction with Riyadh and we certainly hope that the building of relations and the development of relations between Riyadh and other world capitals will in no way be directed against us.”

As the world faces one of the worst energy supply crunches since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s, Biden has repeatedly urged the OPEC+ and its kingpin Saudi Arabia to lift oil production faster than the group is already doing.

But major Gulf producers have little spare production capacity.

Oil and gas exports, which constitute a significant share Russia’s state budget income, are the centrepiece of Moscow’s response to the sanctions the West has imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Friday that continued sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine risked triggering catastrophic energy price rises for consumers around the world. 

Putin says the West has fomented a global economic crisis with soaring inflation by imposing sanctions for what he calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

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