Russia said Friday that Western demands it should pull out completely from Ukraine as part of any future talks to end the war effectively rule out any such negotiations, as Russian strikes continued and a Ukrainian official set his country’s battle losses at up to 13,000 troops.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russian President Vladimir Putin remains open to talks but the Western demand that Moscow first withdraws its troops from Ukraine is unacceptable.
Peskov’s comments came as Putin spoke on the phone Friday morning with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Scholz’s office said he made clear to Putin “that there must be a diplomatic solution as quickly as possible, which includes a withdrawal of Russian troops.”
On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden also indicated he would be willing to talk with Putin if he demonstrated that he seriously wanted to end the invasion and pull out of Ukraine.