According to a Kremlin spokeswoman, Russia has notified Ukraine that it is ready to suspend military operations “in a minute” provided Kyiv meets a list of criteria.
Moscow is demanding that Ukraine suspend military activity, alter its constitution to entrench neutrality, recognize Crimea as Russian territory, and recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as sovereign states, according to Dmitry Peskov.
It was the clearest statement yet from Russia about the conditions it wants Ukraine to meet in order to end its “special military operation,” which is currently in its 12th day.
In a telephone discussion with a journalist, Peskov stated that Ukraine was aware of the situation. “And they were told that it could all be stopped in a matter of seconds.”
The Ukrainian government did not respond right away.
Russia has launched an attack on Ukraine from the north, east, and south, hammering cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol’s harbor. The invasion, which began on February 24, has resulted in Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II, sparked international indignation, and resulted in harsh sanctions against Russia.
However, a Kremlin official stressed that Russia was not pursuing any new territorial claims in Ukraine and that it was “not accurate” that it demanded the handover of Kyiv.
“Ukraine’s demilitarization is nearing completion. We’ll get it done. The most important thing, though, is that Ukraine ceases its military operation. They should call a halt to their military operations, and no one will shoot “he stated
“They should make revisions to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any goals to join any bloc,” Peskov said on the question of neutrality.
He continued, ” “We’ve also discussed how they should recognize Crimea as Russian territory, as well as the fact that Donetsk and Lugansk are sovereign entities. That’s all there is to it. It will come to a halt in a few moments.”
Russia’s demands were outlined as Russian and Ukrainian teams prepared to meet on Monday for the third round of negotiations aimed at resolving Russia’s conflict against Ukraine.
It started shortly after Putin declared two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since 2014, to be autonomous, a step the West condemned as illegitimate.
“It is not our intention to annex Lugansk and Donetsk from Ukraine. Donetsk and Lugansk are not interested in joining Ukraine. However, this does not imply that they should be destroyed as a result “According to Peskov.
“For the remainder. Ukraine is a sovereign nation that will live as it pleases, but in a neutral manner.”
He said that during the first two rounds of discussions between Russian and Ukrainian delegates last week, all of the demands were formulated and given over.
“We hope that everything goes well and that they react appropriately,” Peskov said.
Rather than simply accepting the independence of the separatist areas, Russia had been forced to take strong moves to achieve the demilitarisation of Ukraine, he added.
This was to safeguard the 3 million Russian-speakers in these republics, who he claimed were under threat from 100,000 Ukrainian troops.
“We weren’t sure who they were. What were we going to do with the 100,000-strong army stationed on the Donetsk-Lugansk border, ready to strike at any moment? They were constantly receiving weapons from the United States and the United Kingdom “he stated
Ukraine frequently and vehemently disputed Moscow’s accusations that it was preparing to launch an attack to retake the separatist territories by force in the run-up to the Russian invasion.
According to Peskov, the situation in Ukraine poses a far larger threat to Russia’s security than it did in 2014, when Russia stockpiled 150,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, raising concerns of a Russian invasion, but confined its action to the annexation of Crimea.
“Our condition has gotten worse since then. They began delivering weaponry to Ukraine in 2014, as well as training the army for NATO by bringing it up to NATO standards “he stated
“The lives of these 3 million people in Donbass were ultimately what tilted the scales. We expected them to be attacked.”
Peskov claimed Russia had to act in response to a perceived threat from NATO, claiming that it was “just a matter of time” until the alliance deployed missiles in Ukraine, as it had done in Poland and Romania.
“We finally realized we couldn’t take it any longer. We had to take action “he stated