Ukraine says it never refused to negotiate with Russia, wants talks with Putin successor

Aftermath of a Russian military strike in Avdiivka

KYIV (Reuters) - A senior adviser to Ukraine's president said on Monday that Kyiv had never refused to negotiate with Moscow and that it was ready for talks with Russia's future leader, but not with Vladimir Putin.

The comments on Twitter by Mykhailo Podolyak followed a Washington Post report on Saturday saying the Biden administration was privately encouraging Ukraine's leaders to signal an openness to negotiate with Moscow.

"Ukraine has never refused to negotiate. Our negotiating position is known and open," he wrote on Twitter, saying that Russia should first withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

"Is Putin ready? Obviously not. Therefore, we are constructive in our assessment: we will talk with the next leader of (Russia)."

(Reporting by Max Hunder; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage)