Talks With Ukraine If It Withdraws Troops From Donbas, Other Conflict Areas: Putin - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, July 11, 2024

Talks with Ukraine if it withdraws troops from Donbas, other conflict areas: Putin

By IANS Updated: Jun 14, 2024 6:21 pm

MOSCOW — Days ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that his country was ready for talks with Ukraine, provided it completely withdraws its troops from the Donbas, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions.

“As soon as Kiev declares that it is ready for such a decision and begins a real withdrawal of troops… and also officially announces that it has abandoned plans to join NATO, our side will immediately… receive an order to cease fire and begin negotiations,” he said in an address to top Foreign Ministry officials, RT reported.

The Russian President warned that the West and Ukraine if they again reject Moscow’s new peace overture, they “will be politically and morally responsible for further bloodshed” as “obviously, the realities on the ground, on the frontline, will continue to change not in favour of the Kiev regime, and the conditions for starting negotiations will be different”.

Russia is not seeking a temporary ceasefire, but rather a lasting peace based on the position that Ukraine must proclaim neutral status, not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, and be demilitarised and denazified as was pre-agreed upon in 2022, he said.

The Ukrainian regime must also guarantee the rights and freedoms of the country’s Russian-speaking population, President Putin stressed.

All these agreements should be fundamentally recognised at the international level, followed by the removal of Western sanctions against Russia, he said.

The Russian President termed the Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit scheduled for June 15 and 16 “nothing more than a trick, seeking to give the current government in Kiev some legitimacy”, given Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential term expired last month after he cancelled this year’s presidential election.

He disclosed that early in the Ukraine conflict, Moscow was, in principle, ready to let Kiev retain sovereignty over Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Regions, now made parts of Russia, on condition that it guaranteed the security of a land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula.

“Later, however, the residents of those two regions expressed the desire to join Russia, which was realised at referendums in the fall of 2022,” he added.

He contended that the Ukraine war was not a conflict between the two culturally close nations, but rather the result of “aggressive” and “reckless” Western policies that started long before February 2022.

President Putin termed all the West’s statements about “decolonising” Russia were nothing but bids “to partition it along ethnic lines, after conducting six waves of NATO expansion closer to its borders”.

He termed the Western decision to freeze Russian assets “theft” and vowed that it would not go unpunished. He further claimed that the move to transfer Russian money to Ukraine would shatter the global financial system and only tarnish the West’s image among international investors.

Debunking Western claims that Russia could attack NATO countries as “utter nonsense”, and geared at those seeking to instigate an arms race, he said that the main threat to Europe comes not from Russia, but rather from its “critical, ever-increasing and almost total dependence on the US” in military, political, technological, and ideological areas.

He said that his country and NATO have no choice other than to co-exist and work together as they are located on the same continent, and this reality will continue despite the current degradation of ties.

It is time to start a serious debate on collective security in Europe and Asia, and the reduction of the military presence in both regions, President Putin urged.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was also present on the occasion.

By IANS Updated: Jun 14, 2024 6:21:15 pm
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