Ukraine could stop everything by the end of the day if it fulfills Russia’s demands, Kremlin spokesperson says
If Kiev orders its troops to lay down their arms and fulfills Moscow’s demands, the entire Russian-Ukrainian conflict could be over by the end of the day, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday.
“The Ukrainian side can stop everything before the end of today. There has to be an order for the nationalist battalions and Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms. Russia’s demands must also be met,” Peskov said, commenting on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent claim that the conflict must end before the winter.
Peskov noted that “everything else is just Zelensky’s thoughts,” adding that Russia’s special operation in Ukraine was going as planned and achieving its goals.
Reuters reported on Monday that Zelensky, speaking to the leaders of the G7 via a video link, insisted that the conflict between Moscow and Kiev had to be resolved by the end of the year before harsh winter conditions made it harder for Ukrainian troops to fight against Russian forces. According to the outlet, he urged the G7 nations to provide Ukraine with more weapons and pass tougher sanctions on Moscow.
According to a French official cited by AFP, during the same address, Zelensky also stated that Ukraine had no intention of holding talks with Russia until it obtained a more favorable position and took back the territories it lost after Moscow launched its offensive in late February.
The last round of talks between Moscow and Kiev was held in March in Turkey, when the two sides attempted to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. Since then, however, the talks have completely stalled, as the Ukrainian side has insisted it would only come back to the table when it was in a “stronger negotiating position.”
Ukraine’s top negotiator David Arakhamia suggested last week that Kiev believes it could achieve this “favorable position” by late August after it conducts “counteroffensive operations in certain areas.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.