Russian President's sweeping demands for ending war in Ukraine swiftly dismissed

Russian President's sweeping demands for ending war in Ukraine swiftly dismissed
Image: DimitroSevastopol

President Vladimir Putin laid out sweeping demands on Friday for ending the war in Ukraine, calling on Kyiv to surrender territory and abandon its NATO ambitions - conditions swiftly rejected by Ukraine as tantamount to capitulation.

In a speech ahead of a major peace conference in Switzerland that excluded Russia, Putin said Moscow would only end military operations if Ukraine agreed to cede the entire regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to Russia. He also demanded Ukraine recognize Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and permanently renounce its goal of joining NATO.

"The conditions are very simple," Putin said, adding that Russia would guarantee the "unhindered and safe withdrawal" of Ukrainian troops from those areas once Kyiv agreed.

Ukrainian officials forcefully dismissed Putin's terms, with presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak saying the Russian leader "is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat" and "sign away its geopolitical sovereignty."

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Putin's demands "ultimatum messages" no different from previous Russian positions.

The speech appeared aimed at undermining the Swiss peace conference, which will be attended by over 90 countries and organizations but not Russia. Putin claimed the gathering would be "futile" without Russian representation.

The conditions reflect Moscow's growing confidence after its forces made steady territorial gains in recent months, now controlling nearly a fifth of Ukraine. But Ukraine and its Western backers insist any peace deal must be based on full Russian withdrawal and restoring Ukraine's borders.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin bluntly rejected Putin's demands, saying "He is not in any position to dictate to Ukraine what they must do to bring about peace."

The high-stakes speech escalated tensions just days after the U.S. imposed more sanctions on Russia and reached an agreement with G7 allies to finance Ukraine's defense using frozen Russian assets.

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