Russia has informed Ukraine that it is willing to stop military operations “in a moment” if Ukraine meets a list of conditions outlined by the Kremlin.
Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has demanded that Ukraine cease military action, alter its constitution to enshrine neutrality from western defence pacts and NATO, and acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory.
The Kremlin has also asked Ukraine to recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states.
The list of demands was provided to Ukraine on the third round of negotiations between the two countries since the invasion began late last month and removes the demands for Ukraine to “denazify” and “demilitarize” its forces.
As detailed by Reuters, the Russian request is the most explicit set of demands it has made since its “special military operation” began.
Speaking to Reuters, Peskov said that his Ukrainian counterparts are aware of the conditions Russia has posed to them, “and they were told that all this can be stopped in a moment.”
Since the invasion began on February 24, Russia has made significant advances into Ukraine from the north, east, and south, seizing multiple cities on its way to the capital of Kyiv.
The Kremlin spokesperson told Reuters that Russia does not intend to make any further territorial claims on Ukraine and that it is “not true” that it wants Kyiv to surrender to Russia.
“We really are finishing the demilitarization 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,” he said.
“They should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc,” said Peskov in regard to the neutrality issue.
“We have also spoken about how they should recognize that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognize that Donetsk and Lugansk are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment,” he said.
“This is not us seizing Lugansk and Donetsk from Ukraine. Donetsk and Lugansk don’t want to be part of Ukraine. But it doesn’t mean they should be destroyed as a result,” Peskov added, referring to Ukraine’s recognition of the two breakaway states as independent. “For the rest. Ukraine is an independent state that will live as it wants, but under conditions of neutrality.”
Ukraine did not immediately respond to the list of conditions, but political commentators on social media argue that Ukraine may not have much of a choice but to accept the deal.
“Ukraine is never getting Crimea or the Donbas back,” wrote lawyer and political commentator Will Chamberlain. “And NATO will not admit them bc no one wants WW3. Russia is in a position to level major Ukrainian cities. Take the deal, end the war, save your people.”
“Geopolitics doesn't always have a Hollywood ending, folks,” he added, pointing out that another reason Ukraine must accept the deal is that “They need to create a window for Europe to restore its energy independence.”