IP - Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow does not reject the idea of holding talks on the war in Ukraine, noting that an initiative offered by African leaders could serve as a basis for peace.

Iran PressEurope: The Russian president made the remarks on Saturday while addressing a press conference after meeting with African leaders in St Petersburg on Friday and hearing their peace proposals concerning the war in Ukraine.

"The African initiative, in my opinion, can be the basis of some processes aimed at the search for peace, like others, for example, the Chinese peace initiative," Putin said.

The Russian president noted that, in general, the conversation he had with African leaders about the peace initiative was long and substantive, stressing that it lasted about two hours.

"Everyone spoke out on this issue," he said, adding, "I want to emphasize once again: it was from an absolutely friendly position. It was a real search for some ways, some opportunities in order to defuse the situation."

On the question of starting peace talks, Putin emphasized that "in order for this peace process to begin, there needs to be agreement on both sides."

Moscow says it started what it calls a special military operation in Ukraine in order to defend the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kyiv, and also to "de-Nazify" its neighbor.

One of the points in the initiative was a ceasefire, he said, adding, "But the Ukrainian army is on the offensive; they are attacking; they are implementing a large-scale strategic offensive operation... We cannot cease fire when we are under attack."

China has also come up with a peace plan calling for an immediate ceasefire, dialogue, and respect for all countries' territorial sovereignty. The plan also urges both sides to agree to a gradual de-escalation and warns against the use of nuclear weapons.

Ukraine has, however, rejected the idea of holding talks with Russia, saying Moscow has to first withdraw from the Ukrainian territories that are now under its control.


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