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Kremlin tells Zelensky to ‘think about’ Putin’s peace proposal

The current dynamics at the front do not favor the Ukrainian military, spokesman Dmitry Peskov says 

Vladimir Zelensky should seriously consider Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to end the Ukraine conflict because Kiev’s battlefield situation will further deteriorate as time passes, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.  

On Friday, Putin stated that Moscow would immediately open peace talks with Kiev once it withdraws its troops from Russia’s Donbass, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. According to the president, Ukraine must also commit to neutral status, “demilitarization” and “denazification” as part of a possible deal. An agreement would need to be followed by the lifting of Western sanctions against Russia.   

Both Zelensky and NATO dismissed the offer out of hand. Kiev has insisted on the withdrawal of Russian troops to the Ukrainian borders as of 1991 as a precondition for peace talks.  

In an interview with Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin released on Sunday, Peskov warned that “the current dynamics of the frontline situation clearly demonstrates that it will continue to worsen for the Ukrainians.”   

He recalled that Zelensky’s rise to the presidency in 2019 was largely attributable to his promises to bring peace to Ukraine, adding that he has always said that he would do anything for his country.  

“Perhaps, a politician who puts the interests of his motherland above his own and even above his masters will think about such a proposal. Let’s see what happens,” Peskov noted.  

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The spokesman also stressed that Putin’s overture should in no way be interpreted as an “ultimatum” but rather as “a peace initiative that has been put forward while taking into account the realities on the ground.”  

Asked whether Moscow considers Zelensky a viable negotiating partner, given that his presidential term expired last month, Peskov said that “this is not a person with whom agreements could be signed because de jure this would not be legitimate.”  

According to the spokesman, however, Putin does not rule out any negotiating options, as Kiev has legitimate authorities that could appoint anyone to hold talks. “Negotiations are usually conducted by experts, and they are signed by the legitimate authorities.”  

Zelensky’s presidential powers expired on May 20, after he opted not to hold a new election, citing martial law imposed after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022. Putin has said that Zelensky essentially usurped his post after that point and that the Ukrainian parliament is now the only legitimate authority in the country.

June 16, 2024 at 07:58PM

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