Peskov: Putin has no message to Zelensky via Guinea-Bissau leader
Was it an interview with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, or a request from Embalo's boss French President Emmanuel Macron?
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said today there is no specific message Russian President Vladimir Putin intended to convey to Volodymyr Zelensky through the president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
Earlier today, the president of Guinea-Bissau said Putin had allegedly requested him to transmit a message to Zelensky about his readiness for peace talks.
"There is no specific statement in this case, and there was no talk of it," Peskov told reporters.
On October 25, Embalo met with Putin at the Kremlin during which they discussed several geopolitical issues.
En entretien avec SE Vladimir Poutine, président de la Fédération de Russie ce 25 octobre 2022 au Kremlin à Moscou. Au coeur de nos échanges, nous avons abordé plusieurs sujets géo-politiques. pic.twitter.com/rjLkERkKJd— Umaro Sissoco Embaló (@USEmbalo) October 26, 2022
A day later, Embalo was welcomed in Ukraine by Zelensky and described his meetings as follows on Twitter: "Warm talks on strengthening relations between Ukraine and Guinea-Bissau."
Reçu ce 26 Octobre 2022 à Kiev au Palais de la Présidence par SE le Président @ZelenskyyUa. Entretiens chaleureux autour du renforcement des relations entre l'Ukraine et la Guinée-Bissau pic.twitter.com/UzgYJAQuMx— Umaro Sissoco Embaló (@USEmbalo) October 26, 2022
According to a recording of the meeting published by Ukraine’s presidential office, Embalo said, "I was in Russia yesterday, I met with President Putin, and he asked me to speak with you and to convey a message. [...] He told me that he is ready for negotiations with President Zelensky."
Zelensky responded that for the proposal to be accepted, Russia should first cease to bomb Ukrainian infrastructure and unblock Black Sea ports while dismissing that Ukraine initiated terror attacks and that Russia's strikes are retaliatory.
He also said Moscow has to stop threatening the world with nuclear weapons despite that Russia recently obtained intel on an upcoming "dirty bomb" Ukraine is planning to detonate.
"As for the signals from the Russian side, Mister President said he wants to build bridges... I said, in order for there to be bridges between one country and another, the one needs to not blow up the other’s infrastructure. Then, maybe, in the future they can talk about something," Zelensky said, adding that "who we talk with is another question," referring to his previous statements that Kiev will not negotiate with Moscow as long as Putin is in power.
What must be kept in mind
Umaro Sissoco Embalo entertains very strong diplomatic ties with France.
Prior to the conflict, France used to rely on Russia for energy, the US for security, and China for economic growth.
Since the conflict started, France cut its ties with Russia which supplied France with cheap gas.
A few days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron called out the US over its "double standards" for selling gas to Europe at prices 3 to 4 times higher than it is sold in the US domestic markets.
"American gas is 3-4 times cheaper on the domestic market than the price at which they offer it to Europeans. These are double standards," Macron told reporters on October 22, adding that "it concerns sincerity in transatlantic trade" and that this issue should be addressed.
He further expressed frustration over the fact that the US was beginning to implement protectionist measures. On October 18, Macron told the French daily Les Echos, "The Americans are buying American and pursuing a very aggressive strategy of state aid. The Chinese are closing their market. We cannot be the only area, the most virtuous in terms of climate, which considers that there is no European preference."
Recently, France has been pushing the US to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine.
On October 25, Macron met with Pope Francis to convince US President Joe Biden on engaging in talks to resolve the conflict.
Now that many EU countries are beginning to see that the US is profiting from the conflict in Ukraine, will Macron consider rekindling ties with Russia?
Read more: France plays bad cop, threatens building EU defenses: Politico