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Moscow reveals further steps after Putin’s Ukraine offer

Russia hopes that Kiev’s Western backers will take heed of the president’s proposal, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said

Russia’s diplomats will communicate President Vladimir Putin’s latest Ukraine peace proposal to Western leaders in “in meticulous detail,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists on Friday. Earlier the same day, the head of state set conditions for peace negotiations with Kiev.

The Russian president’s initiative includes a demand that Kiev withdraw its troops from all former Ukrainian territories that joined Russia following referendums in the fall of 2022 and abandon its plans to join NATO. Moscow is ready to order a ceasefire and start negotiations “the minute” Ukraine agrees to those terms and starts the withdrawal, he told Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats at a meeting.

Following the event, Lavrov told journalists that he believes the world is already well-aware of the president’s proposal. Moscow has no plans to issue the offer in a formal document, the minister said. Russia’s ambassadors will nevertheless hand the text of Putin’s speech to the relevant foreign officials and clarify the Kremlin’s stance, he said.

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“We won’t chase after anyone,” Russia’s top diplomat said, adding that Moscow would simply make its position clear and “look at the reaction” of the foreign nations. He stated that his ministry plans to raise the issue at the meetings of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as well as in talks with China and the Latin American and African nations.

The minister also expressed his hope that the initiative would be discussed at the ongoing G7 summit in Italy and at the conference on Ukraine which Switzerland is set to host this weekend.

When further asked by journalist Pavel Zarubin if he believes the latest peace initiative could lead to some meaningful dialogue with the West, Lavrov responded by saying that “hope is the last to die.”

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FILE PHOTO: Vladimir Zelensky.
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“Those that have ears to hear, let them hear. Those that have brains, let them understand,” the minister said, adding that, although he was “not sure that everything is alright with those organs” when it comes to the Western politicians, he still hopes that some good can come of it.

Putin’s proposal was also lauded by Valentina Matvienko, the head of the Russian Federation Council – the upper house of the national parliament. She described the initiative as a “real peace offer” opening the “only possible path towards the end of the Ukraine conflict.” The Russian president’s words also made it clear that “the lack of will and responsibility on part of the Western elites is the main obstacle on the road towards a durable peace,” she said.

The initiative came just a day before the start of the Swiss-hosted summit supposedly meant to further peace in Ukraine. Kiev insisted that Moscow could not have been invited to the event because it would try to “hijack” the agenda by presenting alternatives to the plan being proposed by the Ukrainian government. Putin stated that the meeting was only meant to distract the public opinion from the real roots of the conflict.

June 14, 2024 at 11:05PM

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