Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks before a press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Russia-Africa summit in Saint Petersburg, on July 29, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Monday it needed to find out the purpose of upcoming talks reportedly planned in Saudi Arabia about the war in Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Saudi Arabia would invite Western states, Ukraine and major developing countries to the talks.

The paper said Kyiv and Western countries hoped that the talks, which would exclude Russia, can lead to international backing for peace terms favouring Ukraine.

Asked about the WSJ report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Of course, Russia will follow this meeting. We need to understand what goals are set and what will be discussed. Any attempt to promote a peaceful settlement deserves a positive evaluation.” However, Peskov also restated Moscow’s position that it currently saw no grounds for peace talks with Kyiv.

“The Kyiv regime does not want and cannot want peace, as long as it is used exclusively as a tool in the war of the collective West with Russia,” he said on a call with reporters.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has previously expressed a readiness to mediate in the conflict.

President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that an African initiative - which envisages confidence-building measures followed by a cessation of hostilities - could be a basis for peace in Ukraine but that Ukrainian attacks on Russia made this very hard to realise.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has rejected the idea of a ceasefire now that would leave Russia in control of nearly a fifth of his country and give its forces time to regroup after 17 grinding months of war.