July 14, 2024

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Vladimir Putin sets conditions for a ceasefire in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin sets conditions for a ceasefire in Ukraine
Comment on the photo, Putin wants to withdraw Ukrainian forces from the areas annexed by Russia

  • author, Henry Astaire
  • Role, BBC News

Vladimir Putin said Ukraine would need to completely withdraw its forces from territory Russia claims to have annexed before a ceasefire could begin, a proposal Ukraine immediately called “offensive to common sense.”

Its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has long said that Ukraine will not negotiate with Moscow until Russian forces leave all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea.

The Russian president also said that Ukraine must give up joining NATO before peace talks can begin.

Putin’s statement outlining the terms of the ceasefire comes as the leaders of 90 countries prepare to meet in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss ways to achieve peace in Ukraine – a summit to which Russia was not invited.

Speaking to a meeting of Russian ambassadors in Moscow on Friday, Putin called on the Ukrainian government to withdraw from four regions partially occupied by Russia – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia.

He added that Ukraine would need to formally abandon its efforts to join NATO in order for the Russian advance to be halted.

“As soon as Kiev declares that it is ready for such a decision… this will be immediately followed by a ceasefire order and the start of negotiations on our part, literally at the same moment,” Putin said.

Ukrainian President’s advisor Mykhailo Podlyak called the proposal “completely false” and “offensive to common sense.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejected the offer, saying it was “not made in good faith.”

Zelensky will attend a summit on Saturday near Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, where he hopes to show he still has international support.

The Swiss government said that the aim of the summit is “to provide a forum in which world leaders will discuss ways to achieve a just and lasting peace in Ukraine, on the basis of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.”

Other attendees include US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Russia was not invited and China said it would not attend without Russia’s presence.

Assets worth around $325bn (£256bn) have been frozen by G7 countries, along with the EU, following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The asset pot generates around $3bn a year in interest.

Under the G7 plan, $3 billion will be used to pay annual interest on a $50 billion loan to Ukrainians, obtained on international markets.

The money is not expected to arrive until the end of the year, but is seen as a long-term solution to support Ukraine’s war effort and economy.

On the sidelines of the G7 summit, the United States and Ukraine also signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement, which Kiev praised as “historic.”