Putin Names Two Conditions For Ending The War ‘This Very Minute’

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Putin Names Two Conditions For Ending The War ‘This Very Minute’

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Friday speech addressed the West’s efforts to host a major Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland this weekend. Though scores of world leaders will be there, Russia has not been invited, and China has snubbed the event citing that it’s pointless without Moscow’s representation given it is a party to one side of the war.

Putin outlined his “conditions” for peace. He said for the military operation to be halted Ukrainian forces would have to withdraw from the four regions annexed by the Russian Federation. “Ukrainian troops must be completely withdrawn from the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Luhansk People’s Republic, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions,” Putin said in a televised address. 

Russia held referendums in late September 2022 for these war-torn oblasts, and the overwhelming majority of voters were in favor of being absorbed into Russia, which Kiev and the West called a “sham” election.

Putin also stipulated a second main condition for ending the war: Ukraine must reject ambitions to join the NATO alliance. 

“As soon as Kyiv says it is ready to do this and begins really withdrawing troops and officially renounces plans to join NATO, we will immediately — literally that very minute — cease-fire and begin talks,” Putin said in the talk given to a gathering of diplomats.

Interestingly, Putin showed signs he could be willing to compromise when it comes to territory, which is a bit of the first and hopeful sign that he’s serious about finding ways to wind down the war. According to AFP: 

The Russian leader said he did not “rule out maintaining Ukrainian sovereignty” over the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions “on the condition that Russia has a strong land link with Crimea.”

But despite what appears to be very serious possible overtures, the Zelensky government has long maintained that it will not countenance negotiations or peace settlement until there is a full withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Ukrainian territory as existed pre-February 2022.

The weekend Swiss peace summit is expected to focus on gaining full international backing for Zelensky’s 10-point peace formula, however international press has acknowledged this as still “a largely symbolic effort”.

The sixth point of Kiev’s plan reads as follows: it calls on Russia “To cease the hostilities, Russia must withdraw all its troops and armed formations from the territory of Ukraine, plain and simple. Ukraine’s full control over its state border, recognized internationally, needs to be restored.”

Putin also took opportunity Friday to reiterate that Zelensky is ‘illegitimate’ and is serving as a mere puppet of the West:

For Moscow this of course remains a non-starter, and Putin has frequently emphasize that it will never give up the newly acquired four eastern territories, which have long been Russian-speaking areas, both historically and currently.