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China, Turkey could mediate Russia-Ukraine peace talks — former Czech president

According to Milos Zeman, a ceasefire must be reached first

PRAGUE, May 15. /TASS/. China or Turkey could act as mediators in peace talks on the Ukrainian conflict, former Czech President Milos Zeman (2013-2023) said.

"It is necessary [to start negotiations], to find a mediator that both sides [of the conflict] can trust at least a little bit," Zeman said in an interview published by the news outlet. "This could be China, or Turkey. These diplomatic negotiations are going on behind closed doors, which should prepare the ground for peace talks [between Russia and Ukraine]," he emphasized.

According to Zeman, a ceasefire must be reached first. This will save "thousands of lives on both sides." The former Czech president also admitted that there is a "risk of Ukrainian defeat," which he "does not want." "Ukraine above all deserves peace, a dignified peace, not capitulation," he said.

Zeman recalled that after February 24, 2022, he advocated comprehensive assistance to Ukraine, including military assistance. At the same time, he rejected the notion that this should have been provided starting in 2014, after Crimea joined Russia. At that time, he said, the most important thing was "the accession of the historical part of Russia inhabited by the Russian-speaking population."