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Kremlin responds to report Putin offered to freeze Ukraine conflict

A media report suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin reached out to the US with an offer to freeze the Ukraine conflict is false, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said.

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On Tuesday, Reuters news agency claimed that Putin had contacted Washington through intermediaries to propose “a ceasefire in Ukraine to freeze the war.” However, according to “three Russian sources with knowledge of the discussions,” who the agency claims to have spoken with, the US rejected the idea.

When asked by journalists on Wednesday about the report, Peskov responded: “No, this is not true.”

In his interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson last week, Putin said Russia maintains contacts with the US “through various agencies.”

According to the Russian leader, Moscow has told Washington many times that “if you really want to stop [the] fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons” to Ukraine.

In that happens, the conflict “will be over within a few weeks. That’s it. And then we can agree on some terms before you do that, stop,” he stressed.

Putin reiterated that Russia remains ready for talks with Ukraine, but in order for them to take place, President Vladimir Zelensky should at least cancel his decree that forbids him from negotiating with Moscow.

During his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Zelensky warned his foreign backers against trying to pause the fighting between Russia and Ukraine. “Any frozen conflict will eventually reignite,” he insisted, adding that the West should instead supply more weapons to Kiev so that it can achieve a “just and stable” peace through military means.

Earlier this week, Carlson said he had reached the conclusion that Putin “wants to get out” of the conflict, but that the longer the fighting continues, the less likely the Russian leader will be to compromise.

READ MORE: Ukraine ‘must accept new reality’ – Kremlin

On Sunday, Peskov said that if talks between Moscow and Kiev do materialize, the Ukrainian side would have to recognize “the new reality, no matter how painful it may be” for them, apparently referring to the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year and recent gains made by Russian forces along the frontline.

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