Putin’s Ceasefire Proposition. Peace or Nonsense?

Foreign Policy Brief #147 | By: Yelena Korshunov| June 25, 2024
Featured Photo: www.business-standard.com


On June 14th, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin spoke about conditions for negotiations on Ukraine. He proposed that Ukrainian troops must be withdrawn from all the territory of the “new regions of Russia”, and Kyiv must abandon its intentions to join NATO. “Our conditions”, he said at the meetings with the leadership of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “for starting such a conversation… are very simple. Ukrainian troops must be completely withdrawn from the entire territory of DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic], LPR [Luhansk People’s Republics], Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions.”  Putin stated that as soon as Kiev expresses its readiness to agree to these conditions, and officially notifies the world about  the abandonment of plans to join NATO,  Russian  will immediately order a ceasefire and begin negotiations. Besides these demands, Putin’s list of conditions includes “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, fixation of the statuses of Crimea, Sevastopol, DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as Russian regions in international treaties, and cancellation of all Western sanctions against Russia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine criticized the “peace proposal” of the Russian leader. They believe that Putin made another series of manipulative statements in order to mislead the international community, undermine diplomatic efforts to achieve peace, and  split the unity of the world majority around the goals and principles of the UN Charter.

Commenting on Putin’s statement before the Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland, Zelensky noted that Putin makes a mistake proposing “to withdraw from some of our territories that are under our control.” Zelensky said that the “frozen conflict doesn’t suit us.” The Ukrainian president called Putin a person that “does not want to end the war, but wants to seize territories. According to Zelensky, Russia has committed many tragic historical mistakes, starting with the occupation of Crimea.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called the Russian president’s plan “propaganda”. She said that “it doesn’t seem particularly effective to me as a negotiation proposal to tell Ukraine that it must withdraw from Ukraine.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dismissed Putin’s ultimatum as a “dictatorial peace”. Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accused the Russian president of “spinning a phony narrative about his willingness to negotiate”. He also added that countries helping Russia with weapon supplies “are on the wrong side of history”. “I believe that we will witness history being made here at the summit. May a just peace be established as soon as possible,” he said. Chinese officials kept silent about Putin’s proposition.

Policy Analysis

In October 2022, Putin signed constitutional laws on the incorporation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions into Russia, and completed a formal Russia-only process of annexation. On the basis of these laws, amendments were made to the Constitution of Russia – the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, as well as the Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” were added to it as subjects of the Russian Federation. It includes Ukrainian land that Russia has been unable to seize despite constant “meat attacks” (called so for using a huge number of Russian soldiers thrown into the attack to storm positions with their bodies).

Let’s assume Ukraine will follow Putin’s “ceasefire proposition”, letting go of the territories that Putin is unable to occupy despite a huge numerical superiority of Russian troops and generous arms supply from Russia’s partners. Let’s imagine that Ukraine will turn away from the Western world, democracy, and civilization toward the dark ages values cultivated in today’s Russia. What happens next? How long will it take for Putin’s Russia to gather strength and produce plenty of weapons to attack Ukraine again, invading it and annexing more of its territory? In 2014, in a statement about the annexation of Crimea, Putin assured the world that Russia does not intend to annex other territories of Ukraine. However, Putin’s appetite increased, and on the morning of February 24th, 2022 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Soon after that in his address to the nation, Vladimir Putin assured Russians that the occupation of Ukrainian   not planned. At the very same time of Putin’s speech peppered with prison jargon, Russia shelled Ukrainian cities, inflicting mass civilian casualties and ruin. Extensive territories of Ukraine were initially invaded in 2022 at the start of the war. In one grizzly instance, heading to Kiev, Russian troops sojourned in Bucha, committing widely denounced acts of killing, humiliation, and torture on local civilians. Ukrainian’s counterattacked, liberating much captured land, but hitherto a significant portion of southeastern Ukraine is still occupied by Russia. For over two years, thousands of Ukrainians have given their lives fighting for their land and reclaiming their right for freedom and democracy, while young Russians die for the whimsical imperial designs of one ambitious man.

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