Vladimir Putin lays out terms for Ukraine ceasefire

image caption, Mr Putin wants Ukrainian troops to withdraw from areas annexed by Russia

  • author, Henry Astaire
  • stock, BBC News

Vladimir Putin said Ukraine must withdraw troops completely from territories it claims Russia annexed before the ceasefire began – which Ukraine immediately called an “attack on common sense”.

Its leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, has long said Ukraine will not negotiate with Moscow until Russian forces leave all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea.

The Russian president also said that Ukraine should give up joining NATO before peace talks can begin.

As the leaders of 90 nations prepare to meet in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss paths to peace in Ukraine, Mr.

Speaking at a meeting of Russian diplomats in Moscow on Friday, Mr Putin called for the Ukrainian government to withdraw from the four Russian-held regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia.

He also said that Ukraine should officially abandon efforts to join the NATO military alliance to halt Russian advances.

Mr Putin said: “As soon as Kyiv announces that it is ready for such a decision, the order to cease firing and start negotiations will come from our side immediately, that is, in the same minute.”

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, called the plan a “complete fake” and “offensive to common sense.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejected the offer, saying it was “not done in good faith”.

Mr Zelensky will attend Saturday’s summit near Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, where he will show he continues to enjoy international support.

“The purpose of the summit is to provide a forum where world leaders can discuss pathways to a just and lasting peace in Ukraine, based on international law and the UN Charter,” the Swiss government said.

Other attendees included US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen.

China has said that Russia has not been invited and will not attend without Russia’s presence.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, some $325bn (£256bn) worth of assets were frozen by the G7 countries along with the EU.

Under the G7 plan, that $3bn will be used to pay annual interest on a $50bn loan to Ukrainians, taken out on international markets.

The money isn’t expected to arrive until the end of the year, but is seen as a long-term solution to support Ukraine’s war effort and economy.

On the sidelines of the G7 summit, the US and Ukraine signed a 10-year bilateral defense deal, hailed by Kiev as “historic”.

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