Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a bold promise, declaring that he would immediately order a cease-fire in Ukraine and initiate negotiations if Kyiv meets certain conditions. These conditions include withdrawing troops from the four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and renouncing plans to join NATO. However, such a deal is highly unlikely to appeal to Kyiv, as they have been vocal about their desire to join the military alliance and have demanded Russia’s complete withdrawal from their territory.

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While Putin made this announcement at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, there was no immediate response from Ukraine regarding his proposal. It seems that Kyiv views this offer with a skeptical eye, considering their previous demands for Russia to withdraw entirely from Ukrainian soil. The situation remains tense as leaders of the Group of Seven nations currently meet in Italy to discuss Ukraine’s situation, while world leaders gather in Switzerland this weekend to discuss ways to achieve peace in the region. Notably absent from these talks are representatives from Moscow.

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According to Putin, his proposal aims to achieve a “final resolution” of the conflict rather than merely freezing it. He emphasizes the Kremlin’s readiness to begin ‘negotiations without delay.’ Additionally, Putin outlined broader demands for peace, including Ukraine’s commitment to non-nuclear status, limitations on its military capabilities, and the protection of Russian-speaking populations in the country. He insists that these demands should be included in “fundamental international agreements.” Furthermore, he called for the lifting of all Western sanctions against Russia.

“We urge the turning of this tragic page in history and the step-by-step restoration of unity between Russia and Ukraine, as well as in Europe as a whole,” Putin stated in his address.

It is worth noting that Putin’s remarks provided some much-needed clarity regarding his conditions for ending the war in Ukraine, but they did not introduce any new demands. The Kremlin has consistently maintained that Kyiv must recognize Russia’s territorial gains and abandon its aspirations to join NATO.

Despite Russia’s limited control over the four regions it annexed in 2022, Putin insists that Kyiv must completely withdraw from these areas, effectively ceding them to Moscow within their administrative borders. In Zaporizhzhia and the neighboring Kherson region, Russia reportedly still does not hold full control. However, Putin’s unwavering stance remains that if Kyiv and Western capitals reject his offer, they bear the political and moral responsibility for the continued bloodshed.

The conflict in Ukraine continues to present a complex challenge with no easy solution in sight. The international community watches with cautious optimism as attempts are made to bring an end to the suffering endured by the people of Ukraine. However, with stark differences in priorities and goals between Russia and Ukraine, achieving lasting peace remains an arduous task.

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