The Kremlin spokesman has ruled out the possibility of a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents over the long-running crisis in the former Soviet country, saying such a summit will be convened only after negotiators from both sides have "done their homework."
Dmitry Peskov made the comment on a conference call on Monday in response to a question about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's offer to broker peace talks between Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky.
"The Ukrainian delegation has gone off the radar, there is no negotiation process now," Peskov said. "As for a meeting between Presidents Putin and Zelensky, it is possible only after all the homework has been done by the delegations. This is missing, so there are no necessary prerequisites for the meeting."
Negotiations between Moscow and Kiev over the conflict have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress.
During the recent talks in Russia's Sochi, Erdogan said there would be no winner in the Russia-Ukraine war. "Despite the difficulties on the ground, I also maintain my strong belief that the crisis will be resolved at the negotiating table. I reminded Putin once again that we can host his meeting with Zelensky."
The Turkish leader said Ankara would continue to hold dialogue to contribute to regional and global peace. A ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, he said, is possible "if parties really show sensitivity to the promises made."
Russia launched the military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin said at the time that one of the goals of the operation was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
Western countries have responded to the Russian campaign by backing Ukraine with cash and increasingly heavy weaponry while imposing sanctions against Moscow.
The conflict has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 13 million, creating the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
Russia says it shot down 19 HIMARS missiles
Also on Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry said its forces had shot down 19 US-made HIMARS missiles across eastern and southern Ukraine, and destroyed HIMARS vehicles near the Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk region.
"Armed forces of the Russian Federation continue a special military operation in Ukraine. During the counter-battery fight, a battery of multiple rocket launchers 'Hurricane' in the Ocheretyne area, a battery of self-propelled artillery mounts 'Akatsiya' in the area of Krasne, as well as combat vehicles of American rocket launchers HIMARS in the area of Kramatorsk were hit (all in Donetsk region)," said Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
“In addition, 19 rockets from the American HIMARS multiple launch rocket system were shot down in the air in the areas of Sukha Kamyanka, Kharkiv region, Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, and Antonivka, Kherson region.”
Ukraine receives three German anti-aircraft systems
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military's southern command announced on Monday that Kiev had received its first three German Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft systems and would use them to defend crucial infrastructure facilities.
The air defense systems, which are operated by three-person crews and can hit targets at up to four kilometers, are one of various pieces of Western military kit being supplied to Ukraine to use it against Russia.