Asian News Makers

Ukraine Rejects Putin’s Call to Surrender Four Regions for Peace

In a televised speech on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for Ukraine to withdraw from four eastern regions partially occupied by Russian forces as a prerequisite for peace talks.

Kyiv dismissed these demands as manipulative and reaffirmed its stance against ceding any territory to Russia. This announcement comes on the eve of a major international conference on the war in Ukraine, which Russia is not attending.

Putin’s Demands: Withdrawal and NATO Abandonment

Putin outlined several conditions for a ceasefire and peace negotiations, which included Ukraine pulling its forces from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. He also reiterated his demand that Ukraine abandon its efforts to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“As soon as they declare in Kyiv that they are ready for such a decision and begin the real withdrawal of troops from these regions, and also officially notify about the abandonment of plans to join NATO, our side will immediately, literally at the same minute, follow the order to cease fire and start negotiations,” Putin stated.

These demands were swiftly rejected by Ukraine. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning Putin’s proposal as an attempt to mislead the international community and undermine diplomatic efforts aimed at achieving a just peace.

The ministry emphasized that genuine peace can only be achieved through the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

“This is an attempt to dictate the terms for an end to the war,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the political consultancy R.Politik. “Putin’s proposals don’t involve any concessions from Russia at all. It’s undoubtedly timed to coincide with the peace conference in Switzerland,” she added.

International Response and Upcoming Summit

The Swiss-hosted summit starting Saturday is expected to draw representatives from around 90 countries, all of whom support Ukraine’s call for a full Russian withdrawal. The conference aims to reinforce the international community’s commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Putin’s demands also include Ukraine recognizing the four contested regions and Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, as Russian territory.

Additionally, he insisted that Ukraine’s neutral status be solidified under international law and called for the lifting of all sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its allies.

This last condition follows recent decisions by the Group of Seven (G7) nations, who agreed to redirect profits from approximately $280 billion in frozen Russian sovereign assets to aid Ukraine with about $50 billion.

Furthermore, the US imposed new sanctions on Russia, causing the Moscow Exchange to suspend trading in US dollars and euros. These sanctions are part of a broader strategy to economically isolate Russia and weaken its war effort.

The Ukrainian government, led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, has remained firm in its stance that no negotiations will occur until Russian troops withdraw from all occupied territories.

Ukrainian officials argue that any ceasefire without a full Russian withdrawal would merely allow Moscow to regroup and potentially launch new offensives in the future.

Military and Strategic Implications

Putin’s speech also included a notable update on Russian military presence in Ukraine, with the president stating that there are now nearly 700,000 Russian troops in the country. This figure marks an increase from the over 600,000 troops reported at the end of January.

This significant military buildup reflects Russia’s ongoing commitment to its war objectives, despite facing substantial resistance from Ukrainian forces and widespread international condemnation.

The continued occupation of Ukrainian territories and the intensification of military operations underscore the high stakes and complexity of achieving a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.

On the ground, Ukrainian forces continue to engage in fierce battles to reclaim occupied regions. The Ukrainian military’s resilience, bolstered by Western military aid and support, has been a critical factor in countering Russian advances.

The international community’s continued support is seen as vital to sustaining Ukraine’s defense efforts and pushing back against Russian aggression.

As the conflict drags on, the human cost continues to rise, with thousands of civilians and soldiers on both sides affected.

The upcoming summit in Switzerland represents a crucial opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its support for Ukraine and explore new avenues for resolving the conflict.

While Putin’s latest proposals have been dismissed by Kyiv and its allies, the international response at the Swiss conference will likely shape the next phase of diplomatic and military strategies in the ongoing war.

The steadfast refusal of Ukraine and its allies to concede to Russian demands indicates that the road to peace remains fraught with challenges, requiring sustained international cooperation and commitment.

Related posts