Kiev cannot make its backers agree to its idea of a tribunal for top officials in Moscow, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has said
Ukraine has made no progress in making the US and its allies agree to its idea of a tribunal for top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said in a speech on Friday.
The nation’s top diplomat blasted the West’s “divisions” and “lack of will” on the issue at the Yalta European Strategy forum in Kiev.
Western nations are just as reluctant to transfer frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, Kuleba said, adding that there has been little progress on this matter as well. “Unfortunately, we are in a kind of deadlock on both,” he said.
The G7 group, which includes the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan, “stands firmly” in favor of what the diplomat described as a “hybrid tribunal,” in which Putin, as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, would maintain immunity from prosecution, Kuleba said, stressing that this is absolutely unacceptable for Kiev.
“The special tribunal is needed to create a precedent for punishing the Russian leaders,” he said. “The hybrid tribunal does not answer the question as to how to prosecute those three,” the top diplomat said, noting that he “simply cannot remember” the name of the Russian prime minister.
Those who are against the “special tribunal” make a “clear statement that they consider Russia’s crimes in Ukraine less important than the crimes committed during the Yugoslavia war,” Kuleba said. Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andrey Kostin, also said it would be “impossible to explain to Ukrainians that we could have a tribunal without Putin on the defendant’s bench.”
The Ukrainian foreign minister also said he sees no way to resolve these differences between Kiev and its Western backers. “President [Vladimir Zelensky] has recently asked me what has been done [to push through the idea of a tribunal] and I have admitted for the first time in my ministerial capacity that I cannot suggest a solution,” he said.
Kuleba claims that any legal constraints preventing Kiev from achieving its desired results can be altered. “If a law does not fit an idea of attaining justice, the legislation should be changed,” he said.
Kiev continues to push for Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, which includes Russia withdrawing from Donbass, Kherson, Zaporozhye, and Crimea, as well as paying reparations to Ukraine and submitting to war crimes tribunals. Moscow has dismissed these demands as “nonsense” and has said it is ready for peace talks that reflect “the reality on the ground.”
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