Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to hold a new phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the war in Ukraine.
Peskov stated that Scholz didn’t call, and Berlin hasn’t initiated a similar conversation so far, in response to statements by the chancellor about not speaking to Putin in a timely manner.
“It’s necessary that we speak,” Peskov added.
He continued, “President Putin remains open to dialogue, but of course he is aiming at the fundamental goal of protecting the interests of our citizens”.
According to the Kremlin, Putin and Scholz last spoke by phone for about an hour on December 2, 2022, during a call initiated by Berlin, to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the consequences of the war.
“Ultimately there will have to be an agreement between the governments of Moscow and Kiev,” Scholz previously told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper, in comments about the war published by the Kremlin last year.
Scholz said that his last phone call with the head of the Russian presidential office was a long time ago, “but I intend to talk to Putin again at the right time”.
His comments drew attention as opinions differ on the rationale of talks with Putin now.
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned Russia against relying on freezing the war on Ukraine along the lands it occupied there by saying that Russia must understand that it cannot be a matter of making some kind of cold peace – for example by turning the current front line into a new border between Russia and Ukraine, noting that this wouldn’t legitimize Putin’s land theft campaign.
He added, “It is more about a just peace, and the precondition for that is the withdrawal of Russian forces”.
The German chancellor didn’t raise the issue of whether this also applies to Crimea, which Russia has took since 2014.
When asked if his condition also applied to the peninsula, Scholz emphasized, “The withdrawal of troops isn’t our business… It’s not our business to forge agreements for Ukraine”.
Scholz used the most ambiguous phrase, “The withdrawal of forces and not, for example, “the withdrawal of the forces,” which can be understood as all forces.
Scholz also avoided the question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be overthrown.
Rather, he said, “I don’t believe in such hypothetical questions… In the end, there must be an agreement between the two governments in Moscow and Kiev,” indicating that his last conversation with the Kremlin president had some issues. time, adding: “But I intend to speak with Putin again at the appropriate time”.
On the other hand, despite the sanctions imposed by the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed optimism about his country’s economic prospects, during a meeting with representatives of the business sector on Friday.
“I am convinced that Russia has a good future,” Putin said in a televised meeting with representatives of the Delovaya Russia business association.
Delovaya Russia is an association of businessmen from the sectors of light industry.
Putin stated that there are some economic problems to be overcome, but supply chains are slowly getting back on track.
“It’s amazing, even for me,” Putin said.
Harsh sanctions imposed, and many Western companies withdrew from the Russian market, following the massive Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which caused the country’s economy to contract.
However, the Kremlin leader indicated that the withdrawal of Western companies was a good luck amid misfortune because it caused the emergence of new areas for Russian producers.
Shortly after the start of the war, the Russian government set up a special commission to approve the sale of property to foreign investors.
Since then, many Western companies have sold their assets in Russia for far less than their value.
Putin said on Friday that he didn’t want companies that stopped production in Russia to be rewarded with capital for withdrawing from the Russian market.