Russia Open To Peace With Ukraine, But Won’t Give Up Annexed Regions

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin after a meeting of the State Council on youth policy in Moscow, Russia, December 22, 2022. Sputnik/Valeriy Sharifulin/Pool via REUTERS
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin after a meeting of the State Council on youth policy in Moscow, Russia, December 22, 2022. Sputnik/Valeriy Sharifulin/Pool via REUTERS

MOSCOW – Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reiterated on Tuesday that Russia was willing to engage in negotiations to resolve the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, but added that new “territorial realities” cannot be ignored. Peskov emphasized that Russia would not renounce its claims to the four Ukrainian regions it annexed last year, despite Kyiv and the West rejecting the legitimacy of Moscow’s actions.

Russia declared its annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions in a grand ceremony in Moscow last September. The regions were subsequently recognized as constituent subjects of the Russian Federation through a constitutional decree. Peskov argued that these “realities” cannot be disregarded, as they are enshrined in the constitution of the Russian Federation.

Nonetheless, Peskov indicated that Russia was willing to negotiate if Kyiv accepted Moscow’s control over the regions. “With a favourable state of affairs and the appropriate attitude from the Ukrainians, this can be resolved at the negotiating table. But the main thing is to achieve our goals,” he said.

Russian forces do not have full control over any of the four regions, and Moscow claims that it is fighting to “liberate” them from the control of Ukrainian neo-Nazis. In contrast, Kyiv and the West have condemned this as a baseless pretext for an illegal land grab. Ukraine has insisted that Russian troops must withdraw from all of its territory, including the four annexed regions and the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow unilaterally annexed in 2014, before a peace plan can be considered.

The conflict in Ukraine dates back to 2014 when pro-Russian separatists seized parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions following the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. The situation escalated when Russia annexed Crimea and the conflict in the eastern regions turned violent. Since then, Ukraine has been fighting to regain control of its territory.

The conflict has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and displaced more than a million people. Despite several attempts at resolving the conflict, tensions remain high, and a peaceful resolution has proven elusive.

The international community has urged Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, with many countries imposing economic sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine. The conflict has also strained Russia’s relations with the West, with the United States and European Union taking a tough stance against Moscow.

The situation in Ukraine remains a contentious issue in international relations, with the conflict serving as a reminder of the challenges posed by regional disputes and the importance of diplomatic efforts to resolve them. While Russia has signalled its willingness to negotiate, the conflict’s resolution remains uncertain.

In conclusion, Dmitry Peskov’s recent statements reaffirm Russia’s position on the conflict in Ukraine. While Moscow is open to negotiations, it maintains its claim to the four annexed regions. The conflict remains a pressing issue, with the loss of life and displacement of people continuing to be a cause for concern. A peaceful resolution remains elusive, and the international community continues to call on all parties to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. – Reuters