Secretary of State Blinken says the Russian show is “not a sign of seriousness.”
RABAT, Morocco – The United States suspects Russia is engaged in genuine talks with Ukraine to end a month-long war against its neighbor.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Kremlin negotiators had not yet shown “signs of real importance” after the two sides discussed possible elements of a peace deal following talks in Turkey on Tuesday.
Russia’s military says it will “basically” allow its military operations near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv to be discussed.
But Russian leader Vladimir Putin declined to say whether the United States had confirmed a real change in Russian strategy nearly five months after the start of its aggression and the rapid acquisition of the Ukrainian government.
He told reporters in Rabat that “Russia has what it says and what Russia does, and we are focusing on the latter – and what Russia is doing is a constant barbarism against Ukraine and its people, and it continues as we speak.” “Morocco,” he told reporters in Rabat.
“I do not see anything that indicates that this is moving forward in an effective way because Russia is not showing signs of real importance, but if Ukraine concludes that it is there, it is good and we support it,” he added.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday stressed Russia’s demand that it withdraw its forces, saying “we will see if they follow the advice given.”
In a joint press statement with the Prime Minister of Singapore at the White House, he said, “I will not read anything until I see what their job is.”
Biden noted the ongoing talks between Ukraine and Russia in Turkey and said there was a consensus among Western allies to “see what they have to offer.”
“We’ll find out what they do,” he added. “In the meantime, we will continue to impose strict sanctions. We will continue to provide the Ukrainian military with their self-defense capabilities and we will continue to keep a close eye on what is happening.”
Ukrainian negotiators have set out a detailed framework for a peace deal, where Ukraine will remain neutral and not join the Western military alliance NATO – but it will join the European Union and its security will be guaranteed by a number of regional and world powers, including us.
Asked if the United States would join the agreement on Tuesday, Blinken expressed support: “If any results are found, and if our support for Ukraine can be part of it, it must include our support for its defense and protection in the future.” Something we want to follow. “
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlুতt Cavusoglu said Tuesday’s talks had made “meaningful” progress, including “consensus and general understanding” on some issues, according to the Associated Press.
But Blinken was more skeptical, saying it could be Moscow “trying to mislead and deceive people that it is not doing what it is doing, trying to reorganize it because of the heavy losses it has suffered – I don’t know.”
Russian forces have already retreated east of Kiev and moved to a defensive position north of the city, Pentagon officials said last week – with the Kremlin facing major losses in its attempt to seize the capital and behead the Ukrainian government.
Late last week, Russia said its “main targets” were now in the eastern provinces known as Donbass, where Moscow has led separatist forces against the Ukrainian government for more than eight years.
The top U.S. diplomat was repeatedly involved with his Russian counterpart before the war, saying the United States should be given a chance at diplomacy. But since the Kremlin launched its brutal aggression, he has become much more skeptical – accusing the Kremlin of not negotiating in good faith and, instead, of using the cover of diplomacy to continue the offensive.
Earlier in the day, after Biden spoke to his British, French, German and Italian counterparts, the British government echoed those concerns.
A spokesman for Boris Johnson said, “The prime minister has said that we must judge the Putin regime by its actions.”
ABC News’ Libby Cath contributed to this report.