Ukraine rules out ceasefire talks with Russia to end war

Ukraine's prosecutor general told the BBC that collecting evidence of war crimes committed by Russia is crucial to holding it accountable.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS, VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS, VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS)

Ukraine will not consider entering ceasefire negotiations with Russia, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin declared in an interview to the BBC over the weekend.

"I don't think that the issue of resuming any negotiations is possible," the prosecutor general said Friday, reaffirming Kyiv's belief that collecting evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, alongside international cooperation against the Kremlin, is crucial to holding Russia accountable for its war.

There have been no public attempts to reconvene peace talks between the two sides since initiatives to bring about a ceasefire in Istanbul during the first weeks of the conflict broke down without progress.

Ukraine's top prosecutor reminds Europe who is suffering most

Kostin also rejected the recently reported pressure by the United States and the West to show more leniency toward ceasefire talks

"They don't hear missiles. They don't know what is bombing. They don't know what is killing, rape, looting," he told the British state broadcaster when asked about the impact of the war on European citizens outside of war-torn Ukraine. "Ukrainians are paying [with] their lives for the same struggle," he said in acknowledgment of the economic fallout from Russia's war efforts, which includes an international rise in cost of living and soaring gas prices.

 Service members of pro-Russian troops drive a tank along a street past a destroyed residential building during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the town of Popasna in the Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine May 26, 2022.  (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters) Service members of pro-Russian troops drive a tank along a street past a destroyed residential building during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the town of Popasna in the Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine May 26, 2022. (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Is Ukraine being forced into a ceasefire with Russia?

The Washington Post reported earlier in November that the US had encouraged Ukraine to signal willingness for talks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office denied this last week, with senior adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stating it was absurd to suggest that Western countries would push Kyiv to negotiate on Moscow's terms, as they were the ones supplying Ukraine with the weapons to drive Russian forces off of its land.

He said there was "no coercion" in Kyiv's relationship with Washington, and suggestions the West was pushing Ukraine to negotiate were part of Russia's "information program," though he did not directly rebut the Washington Post report.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also pushed back on the claims, reaffirming in a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that "the timing and contents of any negotiation framework remain Ukraine's decision."

Since Russia announced the annexation of Ukrainian territory at the end of September, Zelensky has said that Kyiv would never negotiate as long as Vladimir Putin was leading Russia.

Reuters contributed to this report.