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Kremlin Suggests 2022 Proposal Possible Basis for Peace Talks

Russia Ukraine War
Russia Ukraine War

A top Kremlin spokesperson said Friday a draft 2022 peace proposal could serve as a starting point for prospective talks between Russia and Ukraine to end their conflict, now in its third year.

During a telephone news briefing with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov referenced a peace proposal floated during talks brokered by Turkey in Istanbul in 2022. He said peace talks are usually based on something and that plan could provide a starting point.

The proposal reportedly included provisions calling for Ukraine to remain neutral and limit the size of its military. The peace plan was abandoned after the talks broke down.

Peskov on Friday was quick to add that any new peace talks would have to consider several “new realities” that now exist since those talks two years ago. But he said the peace plan could nonetheless provide a basis for discussion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made similar comments Thursday during a meeting in Moscow with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Russian media quoted Putin as saying any new peace talks between Ukraine and Russia should be based on the 2022 plan.

In that same meeting, Putin mocked an international peace conference planned by Switzerland in June, saying Russia was not invited to participate. Swiss officials this week insisted Russia was invited to participate but refused.

Putin said that he was always open to negotiations, but that they must be based on “reality.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said any peace talks must be based on a Ukrainian plan calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops, restoration of Ukraine's 1991 post-Soviet borders and a mechanism to bring Russia to account for its actions.

Energy facility damaged

Russia in recent days has launched massive air and drone strikes on Ukrainian civilian and energy infrastructure, causing casualties and major damage.

The newest strikes on Friday targeted an energy facility in the southern region of Dnipropetrovsk, which sustained serious damage after catching fire following a Russian drone attack earlier the same day, the Ukrainian military and a regional official said.

The energy facility was not identified in the military report, which only said debris from four downed Russian drones fell near a "critical" infrastructure facility in the Kryvorizka district, setting it on fire.

Ukrainian firefighters put out the fire, and the extent of the damage could not be immediately assessed, regional head Serhiy Lysak said.

More infrastructure damage

Meanwhile, Kherson regional administration head Oleksandr Prokudin said Friday that overnight Russian strikes on the southern Ukrainian region damaged a critical infrastructure facility — without identifying which one.

Prokudin said 15 settlements across the region were shelled, adding that residential areas were targeted in particular. He said no casualties were immediately reported but several houses had been destroyed.

Ukrainian air-defense systems downed 16 of 17 drones launched by Russia at six regions on April 12, Ukraine's air force said in a message on social media.

"The Defense Forces of Ukraine shot down 16 Shahed-type attack UAVs within the Mykolayiv, Odesa, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsya, and Khmelnytskyi regions," a Facebook post said.

On Thursday, the Trypilska power plant, a major electricity supplier for the Kyiv, Cherkasy, and Zhytomyr regions located some 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) south of the Ukrainian capital, was destroyed by Russian missiles.

Waning defensive ability

The strike, which left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, appeared to highlight Ukraine's waning capabilities to repel massive aerial barrages being launched by Moscow.

Ukraine has been pleading with its allies to speed up efforts to cover drastic shortfalls in ammunition and weaponry in recent weeks as a $60 billion aid package remains on hold in Washington as Republican lawmakers refuse to approve it without an agreement on deep domestic policy changes.

During a visit to Lithuania on April 11, Zelenskyy pleaded with Ukraine's allies to give the embattled country more air-defense systems.

"The main task for now is to make every effort to strengthen our air-defense system, to meet the urgent needs of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, and to consolidate international support so that we can overcome Russian terror," Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.