Monday, July 22, 2024

Ukraine must withdraw troops, end NATO bid in exchange for peace, Putin says

Mr Putin added that Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls.

• June 14, 2024
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin [Credit; Foreign Policy]

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country is a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war.

Mr Putin said this during a visit to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the weekend.

If Ukraine also renounces membership of NATO, Russia would be prepared to cease fire and enter negotiations immediately.

His speech was aimed at the current G7 summit in Italy and the Ukraine event opening on Saturday in the Swiss mountain hotel resort of Bürgenstock.

Mr Putin said the affiliation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson to Russia is no longer in question.

He added that Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls.

The Kremlin leader said he was stating Russia’s minimum demands to resolve the conflict once and for all, not freeze it.

At the same time, Mr Putin repeated the demands he made when he ordered the invasion of the neighbouring country in February 2022: The creation of a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine.

The country should also be disarmed and “denazified,” said Mr Putin, using a term widely interpreted in the West as meaning the instalment of a Russia-approved leadership in Kyiv.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has so far adhered to its stated goal of retaking the occupied territory, including Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is also calling for the prosecution of Russian war crimes and Russian reparations for the destruction caused.

(dpa/NAN)

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