Home News Putin proposes ceasefire, makes sweeping claims on Ukrainian territory

Putin proposes ceasefire, makes sweeping claims on Ukrainian territory

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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Friday that Russia would be ready to order a ceasefire in Ukraine and negotiate with the Ukrainian government if Kiev withdrew its troops from the region. Four regions claimed by Moscow and gave up Aspirations to join NATO.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry swiftly condemned Putin’s statement, saying his goal was to “mislead the international community, undermine diplomatic efforts to achieve a just peace and undermine the world’s unity around the goals and principles of the UN Charter.”

Putin’s new statement, which provides for Ukraine to effectively hand over large tracts of territory to Moscow, including the capitals of Kherson and Zaporizhia, is the most specific territorial condition Putin has yet offered to end the war.

Putin has so far said any negotiations should take into account “today’s realities”, a stance interpreted by some analysts as a call for a ceasefire on the current front.

Kiev says Russia must withdraw its troops from all internationally recognised territory of Ukraine.

Putin’s comments came a day before a Zurich peace conference, which Ukraine organized to convince other nations to back its war plans and eventual peace plan. Russia was not invited to the summit, and Putin’s statement seemed intended to come before the event.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said Putin’s timing of the comments showed he was trying to undermine Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts with Switzerland, which began on Saturday, and that he was “afraid of real peace.”

“Ukraine never wanted this war, but we want it to end more than anyone else in the world,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said.

Putin’s statement appeared to send a message to Ukraine, the West and nonaligned nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which have come to be known as the Global South. Russia and the West have been competing for sympathy as the view grows that neither side can achieve a total victory in Ukraine.

Putin said at a meeting with senior diplomats in Moscow that Russia’s demands were “very simple.” He said Ukraine must withdraw its troops from the entire Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia regions. Although Russia does not control all of the territory, Putin officially declared the regions part of Russia in September 2022.

He also said Ukraine must abandon its plans to join NATO and the West must lift all sanctions on Russia.

In that case, Russia would “immediately order a ceasefire and start negotiations,” he said.

Putin said Russia’s proposal was not intended to “freeze the conflict, but to finally resolve it.”

“Today we have made another concrete, real peace proposal,” the Russian leader said. “Our principled position is that Ukraine’s status must be neutral, non-aligned and non-nuclear,” he said.

Speaking about the upcoming peace conference in Switzerland, Putin said that without Russia “it will be impossible to reach a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian problem and to the entire European security problem.”

Anton Troyanovsky and Maria Valenikova Contributed reporting.

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