Russian President Putin demands Ukraine hand over four regions and abandon attempt to join NATO to prevent war

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will end its war in Ukraine only if Kiev surrenders the entire territory of four regions claimed by Moscow and drops its bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), CNN reported. Ukraine has rejected Putin's demand and called it “a complete sham” and “offensive to common sense.”

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In his speech on Friday, Putin outlined in more detail than before Russia's conditions for a “final end” to the war, since the conflict between Moscow and Kiev began in February 2022.

Putin's speech came on the eve of the Swiss peace conference in Switzerland, to which Russia is not invited. He described the conference as “another ploy to divert everyone's attention”.

Apart from the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from four regions, Putin said the militarisation of Kiev should end and Western countries should lift sanctions against Russia.

Putin's demand reflects Russia's failure to achieve its original war aims, when Moscow believed it could seize Kiev in a matter of days and the rest of Ukraine in a matter of weeks, CNN reported. However, Russia has seized nearly a fifth of Ukraine 28 months later, including the Crimean peninsula it annexed 10 years ago.

In a statement to the Foreign Ministry, Putin described Russia's conditions for peace talks as “simple,” starting with a complete withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Russia only partially controls these areas but has claimed that all of these regions will be part of Russian territory in 2022.

Putin said Ukraine should surrender not just the Russian border regions but “the entire territory of these regions.”

“As soon as they announce in Kiev that they are ready for such a decision and begin the actual withdrawal of troops from these territories – and officially inform about abandoning the plan to join NATO – from our side immediately, at that very moment, a ceasefire will be ordered and negotiations will be started,” the Russian president said, CNN reported.

Putin promised to “guarantee the uninterrupted and safe withdrawal of Ukrainian units and formations.” He said Russia recognizes its role in global stability and stressed that its conditions should be included in international agreements to end the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine does not believe Putin's “ultimatum,” saying it is not much different from the proposals he has made previously, CNN reported.

In his speech at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy, Zelensky spoke about the similarities between Putin's strategy and the one used by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to conquer large parts of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, reports CNN.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak urged Ukraine's partners to “get rid of illusions” and stop taking Russia's proposals seriously, calling Putin's conditions “offensive to common sense.”

“There is nothing new, no real peace proposals and no desire to end the war. But there is a desire not to pay for this war and to continue it in new formats. All this is a complete sham,” Podolyak said.

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