Kremlin hopes EU leaders will not only discuss weapons in Kyiv visit


June 16 (Reuters) – The Kremlin said it hoped the leaders of France, Germany and Italy would not only discuss weapons supplies in their visit to Kyiv on Thursday, but rather to “push President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy to take a realistic look at the state of affairs”.

“I would hope that the leaders … will not focus only on supporting Ukraine by further pumping it with weapons,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters.

“That’s absolutely pointless, it will prolong people’s suffering and cause new damage to the country.”

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Macron, Scholz and Draghi visited Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv on Thursday in a high-profile show of support for Ukraine. read more

Ukraine’s bid to join the 27-nation European Union and its demand for more weapons to fight off Russia’s incursion were expected to be two main themes of the EU leaders’ talks with Zelenskiy later in the day.

The Kremlin has repeatedly raged against Western weapon supplies to Kyiv, saying they are dragging out the conflict and complicating the search for a ceasefire.

Western countries have supplied Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment since the start of the conflict in a bid to thwart Russia’s advance.

Russian officials on Thursday said they were ready to continue peace talks with Ukraine, but again accused Kyiv of stalling.

Responding to a question about potential Ukrainian hopes of reclaiming the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia, or preventing infrastructure links to the region, Peskov said:

“It’s hard to expect anything [constructive negotiations] against this background or otherwise, because everything has stalled.”

Russia’s lead negotiator Vladimir Medinsky also said on Thursday that Moscow was prepared to restart talks with Ukraine but had received no response to proposals put to Kyiv in previous rounds.

Intermittent negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were held in March, including a high-profile meeting of delegations in Istanbul, but have since broken down. Both sides accuse each other of not negotiating in good faith.

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Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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