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Putin Offers Peace Proposal with Key Conditions for Ukraine

By Vusala Abbasova June 14, 2024

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Friday. / Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his willingness to end the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and laid out certain conditions for peace talks.

Speaking at a meeting with the Russian foreign ministry leadership in Moscow on Friday, Putin outlined the terms under which Moscow would agree to start peace negotiations with Kyiv.

"Our position is clear: Ukraine must adopt a neutral, non-aligned, nuclear-free status and undergo demilitarization and denazification," Deutsche Welle quoted Putin as saying.

“As soon as they declare in Kyiv that they are ready for such a decision and begin a real withdrawal of troops from these regions [the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions], and also officially announce the abandonment of their plans to join NATO – on our side, immediately, literally at the same minute, an order will follow to cease fire and begin negotiations,” he added.

Putin recalled that these stipulations were part of the agreements reached during the Istanbul negotiations. He insisted that Ukraine must recognize the new territorial realities, including Russia's control over Crimea, Sevastopol, and the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. Moreover, he demanded that the rights of Russian-speaking citizens in Ukraine are protected.

In addition to these territorial and political demands, Putin called for the lifting of all Western sanctions against Russia, advocating for a restoration of relations with Ukraine and Europe. He stressed that his proposal aims for the "final completion" of the conflict, not just a temporary truce.

"This is another concrete, real peace proposal," Putin said. "If Kyiv and Western capitals refuse it, they bear the responsibility for the continuation of bloodshed."

The announcement was made on the eve of a "peace conference" in Switzerland, which excluded Russia, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will seek international backing for Ukraine's terms to end the war.

Russian forces launched a major assault on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The invasion by land, air, and the sea began after a pre-dawn TV address where Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that Ukraine’s military lay down its arms.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine further escalated in September 2022 when Russia announced its decision to incorporate four regions of Ukraine into its territory, despite controlling only parts of the claimed territories. This move, condemned by the Western countries and the United Nations, fueled tensions in the region.

Since February 2022, multiple rounds of peace talks have been held but each concluded without a successful agreement. Officials in Kyiv, skeptical of Russia's commitment to peace, refused dialogue after the 2022 Ukrainian eastern counteroffensive.

President Zelensky said ceasefire negotiations with Moscow could only begin once the Russian military completely pulls out of his country.

In an interview with Tucker Carlson in February, the Russian President said he is ready to negotiate with Zelensky, who had previously declared that he would never negotiate with Putin. Putin urged him to reverse that decision. On April 11, Putin reaffirmed his readiness to return to the draft agreement with Ukraine agreed on in Istanbul.

Ukraine and Russia have been at odds since the 2014 crisis in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions. Ukraine accused Russia of annexing the Crimean Peninsula – a territory that extends into the Black Sea – and backing anti-government separatist regimes in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The Moscow-backed referendum held in March 2014 allegedly revealed that over 90 percent of Crimea's residents wanted the peninsula to be under Russian control. However, the vote was declared illegitimate by Ukraine, the Western countries, and the United Nations.