A spokesperson for the Kremlin presented the four key demands that Russia is seeking ahead of ongoing peace talks.
The demands, announced by Kremlin spokesperson Dmityry Peskov, are as follows:
- The Cessation of Ukrainian Military Action
- The enshrinement of neutrality in the Ukrainian constitution, preventing Ukraine from joining any bloc
- The acknowledgement of Crimea as a Russian territory
- The recognition of The People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states
Peskov said that an agreement that made the above concessions would bring about the end of the war “in a moment”, along with the withdrawal of Russian troops. Denying claims that Russia wanted Kyiv to become Russian, the spokesperson insisted that Russia has no intention of capturing regions of Ukraine.
On “demilitarisation”, Peskov said:
“We really are finishing the demilitarisation of Ukraine. We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot”
On neutrality, he said:
“[Ukraine] should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc.”
“Ukraine is an independent state that will live as it wants, but under conditions of neutrality.”
In 2014 Crimean separatists declared Crimea, a region with a high proportion of ethnic Russians, an independent state, before holding a referendum on whether the region should merge with Russia. After the referendum results came back overwhelmingly in support of a merger the region came under Russian administration, although the territory is still claimed by Ukraine and recognised as such by the UN.
Regarding the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, and seemingly without any sense of irony, Peskov said:
“We couldn’t just recognise them. What were we going to do with the 100,000 army that was standing at the border of Donetsk and Lugansk that could attack at any moment.”
Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow had positioned almost 200,000 troops at its border with Ukraine, insisting that it had a right to move troops within its territory at will.
Peace talks between the two nations failed to bear fruit over the past week, with negotiated temporary ceasefires being violated and civilian evacuation corridors being shelled, with both sides blaming the other for causing the violation.
After eight Ukrainian civilians were killed over the weekend, as they attempted to evacuate along a corridor away from the city of Irpin, President Zelensky stated:
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war on our land.”