Putin gives conditions for ceasefire in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Friday, proposed an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, contingent upon Kyiv withdrawing troops from four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and renouncing its plans to join NATO.

This proposition was met with firm rejection from Ukraine, which seeks NATO membership and demands a complete Russian withdrawal from its territories.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, dismissed Putin’s proposal, labelling it as the usual aggressive rhetoric without genuine peace intentions.

He condemned it as a ploy to avoid the costs of the war while continuing the conflict in different forms.

International Context

Putin’s proposal coincided with the G7 summit in Italy and a peace-focused gathering in Switzerland, which excluded Russia.

Also read: Putin Confronted by Kremlin Insider Over Ukraine, U.S. Intel Reportedly Tells Biden

The United States and Ukraine also recently signed a significant 10-year security agreement, further straining relations with Moscow.

Details of Putin’s Proposal

In his speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Putin outlined his conditions for ending the war, including Ukraine’s non-nuclear status, military restrictions, and protections for Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

He called for the lifting of Western sanctions against Russia and urged a restoration of unity between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin emphasised the immediate implementation of his proposal, framing it as a step toward a “final resolution” rather than merely freezing the conflict.

He reiterated Russia’s demand for Kyiv to relinquish the annexed regions completely. Notably, Russia does not fully control these areas, including major cities in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

Accusations Against Kyiv and the West

Putin accused Kyiv and Western capitals of bearing the political and moral responsibility if they reject his offer, asserting that Russia has always been ready for peace talks, which he claims have been undermined by the West.

Putin said that if “Kyiv and Western capitals” reject his offer, “it is their business, their political and moral responsibility for continuing the bloodshed.”

Contradictory Statements on Military Actions

Contradicting past military actions, Putin stated that Russian forces never intended to capture Kyiv, describing their presence as a means to pressure Ukraine into negotiations.

Also read: Tensions rise as US approves Ukrainian strikes inside Russia with America-supplied weapons

He also claimed that in March 2022, he was open to withdrawing from Kherson and Zaporizhzhia if Ukraine ensured a strong land connection to Crimea.

Despite these assertions, Russia proceeded to annex these regions, along with Donetsk and Luhansk, through disputed referendums, which Putin now considers a closed matter.

Background on the Russia-Ukraine War

Annexation of Crimea

The Russia-Ukraine conflict began in earnest in February 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula. This move came after a period of political unrest in Ukraine that led to the ousting of its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

The annexation was widely condemned by the international community, leading to sanctions against Russia.

War in Donbas

Following Crimea’s annexation, pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine declared independence, leading to a war with Ukrainian government forces.

Despite several attempts at peace agreements, including the Minsk agreements, fighting has continued sporadically.

Full-Scale Invasion in 2022

In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, dramatically escalating the conflict. The invasion aimed to topple the Ukrainian government and install a pro-Russian regime, but it was met with fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces.

Also read: Russia officially declares United States as ‘enemy’ state

The war has resulted in significant casualties, displacement of civilians, and widespread destruction.

Global Condemnation and Sanctions

Russia’s actions have been condemned globally, leading to severe economic sanctions and political isolation.

The conflict has also strengthened Ukraine’s resolve to join NATO, seeking security guarantees against future aggression.

The situation remains highly volatile, with ongoing battles primarily in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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