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Scholz dismisses Putin’s conditions for Ukraine peace talks

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dismissed demands by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for Ukraine to withdraw from four eastern regions partially occupied by Russian forces as a condition for any peace talks.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 11:13 IST

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By Arne Delfs and Michael Nienaber

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dismissed demands by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for Ukraine to withdraw from four eastern regions partially occupied by Russian forces as a condition for any peace talks.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G-7 leaders’ summit in Italy, Scholz said Putin’s proposal will play no role at a peace conference in Switzerland this weekend.

“We don’t need a dictated peace, but a fair and just peace which respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” he told ARD television in an interview. Scholz accused Putin of trying to undermine support among European nations for Ukraine by pretending to be open for peace talks.

“Putin’s proposal is mainly targeted at domestic audiences in various states. He knows very well that there are many citizens who want a peaceful development. That’s why he wants to disguise the fact that he was the one who started this brutal war,” Scholz remarked.

Putin said in a televised speech before Foreign Ministry officials on Friday that Ukrainian forces should pull out from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in return for a cease-fire by Russian troops. He also said Ukraine must give up its bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The Ukrainian government rejected Putin’s demands as manipulative.

Putin’s offer amounted to a call for Ukraine to surrender its territories in return for peace talks, something Kyiv has consistently rejected since Russia’s February 2022 invasion.

The Swiss-hosted summit that starts Saturday is expected to attract some 90 countries and is aimed at promoting Ukrainian demands for a Russian withdrawal from its territory.

Switzerland has not invited Russia to the conference at the request of Ukraine. Leaders from China and Brazil have decided to skip the talks as they argue both Ukraine and Russia should sit at the table for any meaningful efforts toward a peace process.

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Published 15 June 2024, 11:13 IST

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