Kremlin Denies Putin and Trump Discuss Ukraine Peace

Politico earlier reported that the Republican frontrunner wants NATO to ditch its expansion plans

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republican frontrunner in the US presidential race Donald Trump have engaged in any back-channel talks regarding a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Politico reported, citing two national security experts aligned with Trump, that the former president is considering a deal under which NATO would cease further eastward expansion, abandoning its plans to include Ukraine and Georgia. This proposed plan would reportedly involve talks with Putin “over how much Ukrainian territory Moscow can keep.” 

In response to reporters’ questions on Wednesday about whether such discussions are taking place, Peskov stated that “this is not true.” In May, the spokesman indicated that Putin and Trump do not maintain any contact.

The 45th US president has repeatedly asserted that he would end the Ukraine conflict within 24 hours if elected, although the specifics of this plan remain unclear. Reuters reported last month that Trump’s advisors had developed a roadmap for peace in Ukraine that would include an initial ceasefire based on the current battle lines during peace negotiations. Under this proposed plan, Kiev would not be required to formally relinquish any disputed territories to Moscow. Additionally, Russia would reportedly receive a promise that Ukraine’s NATO accession talks would be put on hold.

While commenting on the report, Peskov did not outright dismiss the roadmap, but acknowledged that the “value of any plan lies in the nuances and in taking into account the real state of affairs on the ground.” 

Last month, Putin stated that Russia is prepared to initiate peace talks with Ukraine immediately upon Ukraine’s withdrawal of troops from Donbass and two other former regions, as well as its commitment to a neutral status. He added that the final agreement should be internationally recognized and pave the way for the lifting of Western sanctions against Moscow. Trump has expressed that these terms are unacceptable.

Both Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected the offer. Since late 2022, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has been promoting his ten-point ‘peace formula’, which demands that Moscow withdraw from all territories it claims as its own and calls for the establishment of a tribunal to prosecute Russian officials and service members for alleged war crimes. Russia has dismissed the plan as detached from reality and a non-starter for negotiations.