Ukraine: Vladimir Putin ‘Could Use Peace Talks to Armament’

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The British government fears Russia could use the peace talks as a cover for a chance to regroup in its attack on Ukraine.

It is believed that Vladimir Putin could mistakenly agree to negotiations as a rearmament ruse with no real intention of ending the invasion.

Secretary of State James Cleverly warned Western powers they had to be “very, very careful” if the Kremlin tried to start negotiations that ostensibly seek an end to the conflict.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said there is a risk that “a truce will really only be used by Putin to train more troops and produce more ammunition and equip his damaged forces and upgrade his armed forces”.

US President Joe Biden said this week he was ready to speak to Mr Putin if he genuinely tried to end the war, which has not happened so far.

French leader Emmanual Macron defended his own talks with the Kremlin, saying they would continue if they could achieve “very concrete results”.

Mr Cleverly, attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest this week, tried to dampen any expectations that Mr Putin would try to negotiate “in good faith”.

epa10163435 Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov (L) watch the Vostok 2022 strategic command post exercises involving the troops of the Eastern Military District at the Sergeevsky -Training ground, in Primorsky Krai region, Russia, September 6, 2022. Over 50,000 people, more than 5,000 military vehicles, including 140 aircraft, 60 ships are involved in the exercises. EPA/MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN / POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

The Russian President has personally overseen military exercises and is said to be closely involved in the day-to-day planning of operations in Ukraine (Image: EPA)

He said: “The point is that we have to be very, very careful when ‘peace’ talks – and I use the word ‘peace’ there in quotation marks – are initiated by Vladimir Putin.

He said if the Russians used any lull in the fighting just as a lull in rearmament, there could be more trouble later.

Mr Cleverley continued: “Then we’ll see those very scenes again, but maybe what, I don’t know, in six, 12, 18 months.

He added: “The solution to this has to be sustainable, it has to make sense, it has to be real.

“What we need to watch out for is a pause that is being used by Russia only to ensure its next phase of aggression is more effective than this current phase.

“And you see, Vladimir Putin has form in this regard. Georgia, this would be an isolated case, wouldn’t it? Crimea, that would be an isolated case, wouldn’t it? Eastern Ukraine would be an isolated case.

“And indeed, we saw that they were all preparing for this latest wave of attacks.”

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Justin Scacco

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