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Peace talks between Russia, Ukraine stall

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Peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have stagnated, officials say, with both sides trading blame and Moscow indicating a return to talks may be difficult.

Russia accused Ukraine of hardening its stance and the West for bolstering the government in Kyiv, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying Washington, London and Brussels wanted to use Ukraine to their strategic advantage.

Mr Lavrov said he believed no peace deal could be made if negotiators tried to “transfer the dialogue” to focus on what the West had to say instead of the immediate situation in Ukraine. That ruled out chances for progress in talks, he said.

“We always say that we are ready for negotiations … but we were given no other choice,” Mr Lavrov said.

Ukraine and Russia have held intermittent peace talks since the end of February 2022, just days after Russia invaded its neighbour. But there has been little communication between the two nations in recent weeks.

Mr Lavrov’s deputy Andrey Rudenko said Ukraine “has practically withdrawn from the negotiation process”, while Russian negotiator Leonid Slutsky, said talks were not being conducted in any format.

“The [US] State Department should not try to create ‘conditions’ through military assistance to Kyiv. Useless,” Mr Slutsky said.

The US is expected to approve a $US40 billion ($A57 billion) package of military and economic aid for Ukraine this week, with the Western supply of weapons and aid significantly increasing in recent weeks.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak confirmed that talks were “on hold” as Russia was unwilling to accept that it “will not achieve any goals” and the war was no longer going according to the Kremlin’s rules.

“Russia does not demonstrate a key understanding of today’s processes in the world,” Mr Podolyak said, according to Ukrainian media.

“And its extremely negative role.”