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Putin could use peace talks ‘as excuse to rearm and recruit troops’

The foreign secretary warned that Vladimir Putin could use any peace negotiations with Ukraine to rearm and recruit Russian soldiers.

Sky News’ Sophy Ridge heard from James Cleverly on Sunday that negotiations must be “realistic” and “meaningful”.

According to the Russian president, Moscow might have to make a deal to end the conflict it began in February.

This was his first public mention of a possible peace agreement.

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Mr Cleverly suggested that Mr Putin could use discussions to cover his tracks.

Sky News: He said that negotiations must be genuine and meaningful.

“They cannot be used as a mere fig leaf to Russian rearmament or further recruitment of soldiers, regardless of whether they are from the Wagner Group and trawling prisons Russia .”

Cleverly stated that the Ukrainian president, as well as the Ukrainian people must decide the content and threshold of peace negotiations.

He said, “They are the ones whose daughters and sons are being murdered in this.”

However, he was skeptical about whether any serious peace negotiations would be possible.

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“We are open for agreements”

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Cleverly stated that he is not seeing any sign of Vladimir Putin entering these talks in good faith.

“The larger rhetoric is still very confrontational.”

Russia and Ukraine will likely be at odds over Crimea and other Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia.

Recent months have seen Ukraine retake control of large areas of the east-occupied territories, while Russia recently gave ground in Kherson, the southernmost city.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the Ukrainian president and has repeatedly stated that Russia must withdraw from all occupied territories before any peace negotiations can be initiated.

This includes Crimea which Russia annexed in an illegal invasion in 2014.

Image James Cleverly stated that Russia has not indicated that peace negotiations will take place

Russia annexed also the Donetsk, Kherson and Luhansk regions after September referendums that the West called a “sham”.

Last month, Putin demanded that the West officially recognize the four regions in order to allow peace negotiations to proceed.

He also admitted on Friday that there were difficulties procuring clothing and equipment for the hundreds of thousand of conscripts who were called up to fight in Ukraine.

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