Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he’s ready to negotiate “with everyone involved” in the war with Ukraine.
Putin told a Russian news reporter in an interview that aired on Russian media on Sunday that the Kremlin is ready to negotiate but their enemy are the ones refusing to talk.
The comments from the Russian leader follow intense Russian shelling on the Ukrainian city of Kherson on Christmas Eve that killed at least 10 people and injured more than 50 others.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Russia as “absolute evil” on Saturday following the deadly strikes, which he said were for “the sake of intimidation and pleasure.”
Zelensky and President Biden discussed what a “just peace” would look like when Zelensky visited the United States on Wednesday for his first international trip since the war started in February.
Zelensky has laid out a series of 10 conditions that must be met for peace to be achieved, including total Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory. This would also include a Russian withdrawal from the Crimean Peninsula under the Ukrainian demands.
Russia seized Crimea in 2014 following a Russian-backed referendum that was condemned by most of the international community as illegal.
Putin has previously called on Ukraine and the international community to recognize Crimea as part of Russia, which they have been unwilling to do.
Putin said in the interview that Russia is defending its national interests and its citizens in the 10-month-long conflict, The Associated Press reported. But he said Russia is prepared to negotiate “some acceptable outcomes” with all participants in the conflict.
Putin called the conflict a war for the first time in a televised news conference on Thursday, saying it is Russia’s goal to end it. He previously only referred to it as a “special military operation.”