Russia says it is ready to halt its invasion of Ukraine “in a moment” if the Ukrainian government meets three conditions, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
In an interview with Reuters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would be willing to halt military operations if, in addition to stopping its own military action, the government of Ukraine agrees to its terms:
- change its constitution to enshrine neutrality between Russia and the West into law
- acknowledge Crimea as belonging to Russia
- recognize the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.
Peskov said that Russia’s terms had been laid out and handed over to the Ukrainian delegation during the first two rounds of negotiations between the two countries last week.
“We really are finishing the demilitarisation of Ukraine. We will finish it,” Peskov said. “But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot.” Peskov also made clear that amending the Ukrainian constitution would and should preclude the country from becoming part of NATO or the United Nations. “They should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc,” he said.
“We have also spoken about how they should recognise that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognise that Donetsk and Lugansk are independent states,” Peskov said of the territorial claims. “This is not us seizing Lugansk and Donetsk from Ukraine,” he added. “Donetsk and Lugansk don’t want to be part of Ukraine. But it doesn’t mean they should be destroyed as a result… For the rest. Ukraine is an independent state that will live as it wants, but under conditions of neutrality.”
“And that’s it. It will stop in a moment,” Peskov said.
Peskov confirmed the demands in an interview with Israeli news site i24news.
“The objectives are very simple, and they were actually explained by [Putin]. We want to see [a demilitarization of] Ukraine,” he said. “We want to see Ukraine free from Nazi ideology, and Nazi elements,” he added, repeating the claim made by Putin that he was seeking the “denazification” of Ukraine. “Also we want to have guarantees that the neutral status of Ukraine is fixed in the Constitution, and also we want to have guarantees that weapons being able to change the security balance in Europe cannot be deployed on the territory of [Russia].”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the Russian demands in an interview with ABC News, calling the terms an “ultimatum” and criticizing President Putin for being in an “information bubble.”
“This is another ultimatum,” Zelensky told ABC’s David Muir. “We are not prepared for ultimatums, but we have the possible solution, resolution for these three items, key items. What needs to be done is for President Putin to start talking, start the dialogue, instead of living in the informational bubble without oxygen. I think that’s where he is, he is in this bubble, he is getting this information and you don’t know how realistic that information is that he is getting.”
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