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I’m ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’ if Ukraine fulfills my conditions — Putin

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The Russian president, Vladimir Putin said he is readily available to start peace talks “tomorrow” if Ukraine agreed to take soldiers from the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and gives up its plans to join NATO.

Those regions are parts of Ukraine that Russia claims as its own. Ukraine has vowed to liberate the regions from Russian occupation. Donetsk and Luhansk seceded from Ukraine in 2014.

“We will (call a ceasefire) immediately”, Putin said in a speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry this morning, adding his proposal is aimed at a ‘final resolution’ of the conflict and that the Kremlin is ‘ready to start negotiations without delay”.

But the declaration, which comes on the eve of a two-day conference in Switzerland dedicated to building a ‘road map’ to peace in Ukraine, will not excite Kyiv.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is not interested in any deal that would see Ukrainian land surrendered to Moscow.

His aide Mykhailo Podolyak said of Putin’s peace proposal, “It’s all a complete sham. Therefore – once again – get rid of illusions and stop taking seriously the ”proposals of Russia” that are offensive to common sense.”

But Putin’s troops currently control a significant amount of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in September 2022 Moscow unilaterally declared it had annexed those two regions well as parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Putin’s forces are also making gains across the border in the north-eastern region of Kharkiv – though his troops previously abandoned large swathes of territory in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia following Ukrainian counterattacks.

In the same speech, the Russian president engaged in yet more sabre-rattling, claiming Western leaders are pushing him towards ‘the point of no return’ over a nuclear World War Three.

“We have come unacceptably close to the point of no return… Calls to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, which possesses the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons demonstrate the extreme recklessness of Western politicians,’ Putin declared.

“They either do not understand the scale of the threat they are creating – or are simply obsessed with their own sense of impunity and exceptionalism.

“Both can lead to tragedy,’ he concluded sternly.

 

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