U.K. officials have been holding diplomatic talks with key Russian representatives concerning global security during Russia’s war against Ukraine, a British newspaper iNews reported on Sept. 23, citing its diplomatic sources.
The discreet meetings have been held over the past 18 months in Vienna and New York as part of back-channel diplomacy to discuss international security, grain shortages, and nuclear safety, according to the report.
A senior British diplomat involved in some discussions told the newspaper that the U.K. is not “divvying up parts of the country (Ukraine) or making peace agreements on anyone’s behalf.”
“We have been keeping in contact, and we feel it’s crucial to maintain an open dialogue during the war in Ukraine,” sources said.
The U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesperson confirmed that meetings with Russian officials only occurred when deemed “absolutely necessary.” The spokesperson dismissed claims that the talks aimed to negotiate the end of Russia’s war as “neither credible nor accurate.”
“It is for Ukraine, and the Ukrainian government, to determine its position in any negotiations, just as it is for Ukraine to determine its free and democratic future,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.