Zelensky & NATO Chief Slam Putin’s Peace Proposal

Ukraine and NATO have slammed the conditions set out by Russian President Vladimir Putin for initiating Ukraine peace talks.

The Ukrianian foreign ministry called Putin’s peace proposal “manipulative” and “absurd” and the NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called it a proposal of more aggression.

President Zelensky said he believed Putin would not stop his military offensive even if his ceasefire demands were met and compared the peace conditions to ultimatums given by German dictator Adolf Hitler in the lead-up to World War II.

During a speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Friday, Putin promised to “immediately” order a ceasefire in Ukraine and begin negotiations if Kiev started withdrawing troops from the four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and renounced plans to join NATO.

He said the proposal would provide a “final resolution” to the conflict rather than “freezing it” and stressed that the Kremlin was “ready to start negotiations without delay”.

France 24 reports: Broader demands for peace that Putin listed included Ukraine’s recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, keeping the country’s non-nuclear status, restricting its military force and protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population. All of these should become part of “fundamental international agreements”, and all Western sanctions against Russia should be lifted, Putin said.

“We’re urging to turn this tragic page of history and to begin restoring, step-by-step, the unity between Russia and Ukraine and in Europe in general,” he said.

Putin’s remarks, made to a group of somber foreign ministry officials, represented a rare occasion in which he clearly laid out his conditions for ending the war in Ukraine, but it didn’t include any new demands. The Kremlin has said before that Kyiv should recognize its territorial gains and drop its bid to join NATO.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he believed Putin would not stop his military offensive even if his ceasefire demands were met.

“These are ultimatum messages that are no different from messages from the past,” he said to Italy’s SkyTG24 news channel on the sidelines of a G7 summit.

“He will not stop,” he said, comparing Putin’s peace conditions to ultimatums given by German dictator Adolf Hitler in the lead-up to World War II.

“It is the same thing that Hitler used to do … This is why we should not trust these messages,” Zelensky added.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry called Putin’s plan “manipulative”, “absurd” and designed to “mislead the international community, undermine diplomatic efforts aimed at achieving a just peace, and split the unity of the world majority around the goals and principles of the UN Charter”.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also slammed the conditions set out by Putin for initiating Ukraine peace talks.

“This is not a proposal made in good faith,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

“This is a proposal that actually means that Russia should achieve their war aims, by expecting that Ukrainians should give up significantly more land than Russia has been able to occupy so far,” he said.

“This is a proposal of more aggression, more occupation and, and it demonstrates, in a way, that Russia’s aim is to control Ukraine.”

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