International

Russia-Ukraine War: Putin Promises Cease-Fire If Kyiv Withdraws Troops; Drops NATO Bid

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday has promised a cease-fire in Ukraine with a condition - if Kyiv withdraws troops from occupied regions. He also renounced plans to join NATO.

AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes the oath during an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia Photo: AP
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Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday has promised a cease-fire in Ukraine with a condition - if Kyiv withdraws troops from occupied regions. He also renounced plans to join NATO.

Such a deal appears a nonstarter for Kyiv, which wants to join the military alliance and has demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from all of its territory. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine on Putin's proposal.

“We will do it immediately,” Putin said in a speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

His remarks came as leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations met in Italy and as Switzerland prepared to host scores of world leaders -- but not from Moscow -- this weekend to try to map out first steps toward peace in Ukraine.

Putin said his proposal is aimed at a “final resolution” of the conflict in Ukraine rather than “freezing it," and stressed that the Kremlin is “ready to start negotiations without delay.”

Broader demands for peace that the Russian leader listed included Ukraine's non-nuclear status, restrictions on its military force and protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in the country. 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, restore the unity between Russia and Ukraine and in Europe in general,” he said.

Putin's remarks 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 recognise its territorial gains and drop its bid to join NATO.

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