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Inews: UK, Russia engaged in secret talks for 18 months amid Ukraine war

The talks focused on nuclear and grain concerns, not on seeking peace in Ukraine
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Inews: UK, Russia engaged in secret talks for 18 months amid Ukraine war

The UK government has engaged in undisclosed diplomatic contacts with Russia over the past 18 months despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to a report by the UK publication inews. Quoting unnamed British diplomats, the report revealed meetings were held in cities like Vienna and New York to discuss “security matters” for the UK and internationally.

“We have been keeping in contact and we feel it’s crucial to maintain an open dialogue during the war in Ukraine,” an unnamed senior British diplomat told the publication. “We are in no way divvying up parts of the country or making peace agreements on anyone’s behalf, but it’s vitally important to keep that line of contact open.”

The talks were said to cover issues like grain shortages and nuclear safety but did not involve negotiations around finding a diplomatic solution to end the conflict. “At no point has the UK sought to enter peace talks around finding a diplomatic end to the conflict,” the diplomat stated.

An FCDO spokesperson confirmed meetings took place in multilateral settings when “absolutely necessary for vital UK security interests or matters of international security.” The spokesperson added: “It is for Ukraine, and the Ukrainian government to determine its position in any negotiations, just as it is for Ukraine to determine its free and democratic future.”

A former intelligence officer working with the UK government said keeping diplomatic channels open during the invasion made sense for tackling problems like nuclear safety, but they would be “amazed” if the contacts involved substantive talks on ending the war given the UK’s clear opposition to Russia’s actions.

This July, the Moscow Times and NBC reported about secret US-Russia talks. Known as “Track 1.5 diplomacy,” the talks were held between former senior US national security officials and high-ranking Kremlin members. Unlike the UK talks, the US members offered Russia to facilitate referendums in Russian-occupied regions on joining Russia or Ukraine, as well as conceded that their aim is to lay the groundwork for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine.

They concluded that for the US, “total victory in Europe could harm our interests in other areas of the world” and warned that crippling Russia to the point of “humiliation or collapse” would “make negotiating almost impossible.”

US offered Russia “fair” elections in occupied Ukraine in secret talks – Moscow Times

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