Lavrov's hints: does Russia want to negotiate?

Both Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden are expected to attend the G20 summit in Bali in November. Now Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has signalled that the Kremlin is open to the idea of face-to-face talks between the two leaders and is also willing to "listen to any suggestions" on peace talks. Biden said in a CNN interview that he saw no good reason for a meeting. Commentators take different views of Lavrov's comments.

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Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

As far as circumstances allow

Moscow is serious, argues Kommersant FM radio:

“Russia is ready for talks with the West at the G20 summit. ... All of Putin's current meetings, including those with the presidents of the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, are devoted to exactly that - organising major negotiations. ... Orbán's statements are also aimed at supporting this very process. And for the most part the West is not opposed to this either. But it is worth repeating a wise axiom: sometimes circumstances are stronger than the will of the players - even if there is a fundamental desire among a majority of the participants to find an acceptable solution.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

No basis for anything

For the Kleine Zeitung the offer is a sham:

“Is this a way out of the war in Ukraine, which is becoming more and more unbearable with each passing day? There's a quick answer to this question. Lavrov's postscript reads: Russia is ready to talk - but without abandoning its goals, which are: Ukraine must agree to territorial losses (without any quid pro quo), it must renounce Nato membership, and it must be completely demilitarised and 'denazified' (in other words: de-Ukrainianised). What would that mean? Ukraine would be completely and utterly at Moscow's mercy. ... It's also clear that this situation would not deserve the term 'peace'.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

A bid to grab attention and sow discord

The taz keeps expectations low:

“Is this a glimmer of hope for negotiations? Not at all. More like a desperate attempt to play any role at all in international discussion formats - and to drive a wedge into the still solid unity among the G7 and their allies. No one can seriously say whether the war is currently entering a decisive final phase. But the Kremlin leader's irrelevance on the world stage has never been more apparent than now.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Moscow counting on negotiations without Kyiv

Corriere della Sera quotes an analyst with close ties to the Kremlin and sees signs of a change in stance:

“Konstantin Blokhin of the National Security Research Centre at the Russian Academy of Sciences reads it like this: 'There is disagreement among American elites about relations with Zelensky and his henchmen. Erdoğan has proposed discussions without Kyiv's involvement. To increase this divide the West must be deprived of the certainty that victory over Russia is possible. Once that has been accomplished, negotiations on an equal footing will be possible with the right people.'.... Excluding Ukraine is still wishful thinking on Moscow's part. But any absolute certainties seem to be a thing of the past.”

Libération (FR) /

Do not repeat the mistakes of Versailles

Russia should be offered a future defined by peace and cooperation, journalist and MEP Bernard Guetta writes in Libération:

“On the one hand, more weapons must be delivered to Ukraine more rapidly while on the other the foundations for the post-war period are laid. Because once their victory is sealed, Ukraine and its allies will have a choice to make. ... Either they can punish Russia, as they punished Germany in 1918, or recognise Russia as a democracy, as they did with West Germany in 1947. ... Russia's youth is by no means in love with dictatorships or war. With them we can create lasting peace in Europe.”