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Putin says Ukraine must withdraw troops and quit NATO to negotiate peace

The Russian president also revealed that during the first days of attack his objective was to conquer Mariupol and force the Ukrainian country to concede a land bridge.

Vladimir Putin durante el discurso televisado que dio el 14 de junio de 2024 anunciando las condiciones para que se produjese un alto el fuego con Ucrania.

(Natalia Ko

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(AFP / VOZ MEDIA) Russian President Vladimir Putin said this Friday that he will negotiate peace with Ukraine if Kyiv withdraws its troops from the four regions that Moscow claims and if it renounces joining NATO.

Ukraine immediately rejected the "conditions" set by Putin to stop the large-scale military offensive he launched in February 2022, and, meanwhile, Kyiv is trying to rally international support at a peace summit taking place this weekend in Switzerland, which Russia will not attend.

The two countries have been locked in a bloody conflict for more than two years, and no direct talks of peace have been had since the first few weeks of the Russian invasion.

Ukraine demands the full withdrawal of Russian troops from its internationally recognized territory, including the annexed Crimean peninsula, as part of a peace deal.

But with Russia in an advantageous position on the battlefield and Ukraine grappling with a shortage of men and ammunition, Putin was emboldened: "Ukrainian troops must completely withdraw from the regions of the Donetsk People's Republic, the Lugansk People's Republic, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia," Putin said in a televised speech to Russian diplomats in Moscow.

Kyiv affirms that the demands raised by Russia are "offensive to the common good"

In 2022, Russia proclaimed the annexation of these four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine, despite not having full control over any of them.

The regional capitals of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia remain under Ukrainian command.

"As soon as Kyiv (...) begins the effective withdrawal of troops and as soon as it notifies that it is abandoning its plans to join NATO, we will immediately, this very minute, give the order for a ceasefire and begin negotiations," Putin said.

And he again insisted that he wanted a "neutral, non-aligned, nuclear weapons-free, demilitarized and denazified" Ukraine.

Mijaílo Podoliak, advisor to the Ukrainian presidency, deemed that the Russian president's claims are "offensive to common sense" and constitute "an offense to international law."

Additionally, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Putin's proposal was not made "in good faith."

Putin's demands constitute a de facto request for Ukraine's surrender, the objective of which is to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Putin calls Ukrainian peace summit a "stratagem"

Putin also denigrated the peace summit, from which Russia was excluded, which will be held on June 15 and 16 in Switzerland at the initiative of Ukraine. Kyiv hopes that the nearly 90 delegations present will reach a consensus to increase pressure on Russia and further isolate it.

For the Russian president, this is a "stratagem to divert the attention of the entire world" from those truly responsible for the conflict who are, according to him, the Western countries and the authorities in Kyiv.

"Without Russia's participation and without an honest and responsible dialogue with us, it is impossible to achieve a peaceful solution in Ukraine and for the security of Europe in general," the Russian president stressed.

The Russian president reveals the true objectives of the attack on Ukraine

Putin also denounced the $50 billion loan announced Thursday by the G7, which will use as collateral the interest generated by the nearly 300 billion euros ($325 billion) of Russian assets frozen by Western allies.

"Western countries froze part of Russia's assets and currency reserves. And now they are thinking of a legal basis to permanently appropriate them," he declared. "Even if we try to embellish things, a robbery is a robbery and will not go unpunished," he asserted.

Finally, the Russian president made a surprising reveal about the objectives of the first days of attack, after always maintaining that he did not intend to conquer Ukrainian territory.

He indicated that one of the objectives was to conquer Mariupol, a port city that suffered a terrible siege in 2022, and that another was to force Ukraine to concede land bridge through southern Ukraine to link Russia with the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Putin declared that he "did not rule out" granting Kyiv sovereignty over the south of the country," as long as Russia has a solid land link with Crimea.