Kyiv Open for Peace Talks if Russia Faces War Crimes Prosecution

Ukraine wants to hold peace talks at the United Nations by the end of February but insists that Russia should first face prosecution for war crimes, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday, conveying the stand of Kyiv.

Pointing out that every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and in a diplomatic way, at the negotiating table, the Ukrainian official said Monday that the UN could be the best venue for a potential peace summit and that the UN Secretary-General António Guterres could serve as the mediator.

Kuleba further said that Moscow can only be invited to this step if it faces a war crimes tribunal.

During the G20 summit last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a 10-point peace plan that includes, among other things, the withdrawal of the Russian forces and cessation of hostilities, nuclear safety, the release of all prisoners of war, and establishment of the Special Tribunal regarding the crime of Russia’s aggression.

Back in October, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, established by the United Nations Human Rights Council, concluded that Russian forces are responsible for a vast majority of the war crimes, violations of human rights, and international humanitarian law that have been committed in Ukraine.

According to Kuleba, Kyiv is also planning to call for removing Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, pointing out that they have a convincing and reasoned answer – a negative one – to one simple question: Ukraine’s invader has the right to remain UNSC’s permanent member and the UN member at all?

Kuleba claims that diplomacy circles have already discussed the question of Russia’s veto-wielding permanent seat in the UNSC, where it potentially poses a threat to peace and security.

Back in September, US President Joe Biden expressed his support for the expansion of the UNSC and for it to become more inclusive.

Western powers have pored through UN procedural rules to ensure Moscow doesn’t block Security Council meetings since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and have also turned to the 193-member General Assembly – another UN body – to seek condemnation of Moscow’s actions.