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Russian offensive will continue if Ukraine refuses Putin proposal – ex-president

Kiev risks making its situation “worse,” if it turns down peace talks, Dmitry Medvedev said

Ukraine is making a huge mistake by refusing to consider Russia’s offer to open peace talks because its negotiating position will only deteriorate as time goes by, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that Moscow would immediately open peace talks with Kiev if it withdrew its troops from Russia’s Donbass, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

Any such deal would also include Ukraine committing to neutral status, as well as its “demilitarization” and “denazification.” Western sanctions against Moscow would also have to be lifted, the Russian leader insisted.

Vladimir Zelensky has rejected the overture as an ultimatum, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggesting that the proposal had not been made in “good faith.” Kiev has consistently demanded that Russia withdraw its troops to the Ukrainian borders of 1991 as a condition for starting talks.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said Ukraine was “taking the discussion back to square one” by rejecting peace initiatives.

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“They shouldn’t have done that. It will get worse,” the former president warned.

However, Medvedev said Kiev still had time to accept the offer, but this window of opportunity will not last. If Ukraine does not agree to Putin’s terms, this will result in a scenario in which Russia’s “offensive actions will continue, and it is difficult to say where the border of the cordon sanitaire that our president spoke about will end,” he remarked, adding that the zone’s boundaries would not be drawn in favor of Kiev.

The Russian president first spoke about the possibility of establishing a ‘cordon sanitaire’ in Kiev-controlled territories to protect Russian border regions from constant artillery strikes this spring. To achieve this goal, Moscow’s forces launched a major offensive in Ukraine’s border Kharkov Region in early May, capturing about a dozen settlements.  

Against this backdrop, several Western nations, including the US, authorized Ukrainian long-range strikes deep inside Russian territory, with the supposed goal of enabling Kiev to target military deployment areas and installations. The move was condemned by Moscow as escalatory, with Putin noting that the West had essentially signed off on Kiev’s attacks on Russian civilians.

June 18, 2024 at 09:20PM

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