Putin Makes Public Peace Offer to Ukraine

The Russian leader said there could be an immediate pause to hostilities

Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out four conditions for Ukraine that he said would lead to an immediate ceasefire and, ultimately, an end to the conflict. According to the Kremlin, Kiev’s neutral, non-aligned, non-nuclear status and the lifting of all Western sanctions are necessary conditions for ending the conflict.

In a speech to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday, Putin said that if Ukraine withdraws its forces from the four regions annexed by Moscow – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson – then he would order a halt to operations and begin negotiations to end the war.

As well as recognizing Russia’s territorial claims to the formerly Ukrainian regions, Putin demanded that Kiev never join NATO or obtain nuclear weapons and called for an end to Western sanctions on Moscow.

The offer is the second from the Kremlin in recent weeks and comes at a crucial time in the nearly two-and-a-half-year conflict, as Moscow’s forces make slow but steady gains in the Kharkiv region. To offset Russian advantages, Kiev’s Western backers have significantly escalated their support by allowing Ukraine to hit targets inside Russia, seizing frozen Russian funds to give to Ukraine, and preparing to deploy NATO trainers to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak quickly rejected the Russian offer in a post on X. “There are no new ‘peace proposals’ from Russia. Entity Putin has voiced only the ‘standard aggressor’s set,’ which has been heard many times already,” he wrote. “Its content is quite specific, highly offensive to international law, and speaks absolutely eloquently about the incapacity of the current Russian leadership to adequately assess realities.”

The offer is similar to what Russia demanded in the early months of the war. At that time, Moscow was only seeking to annex Crimea. However, Russian forces have made significant advances in the years since, and the Kremlin says it will not relinquish the four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine annexed last year.

Kiev’s demands for ending the war include a complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s post-USSR borders, Putin facing an international trial for war crimes, and reparations for war damages.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will push this format at an international summit hosted by Switzerland on Sunday and Monday. However, major world leaders are skipping the event, including President Joe Biden, who will instead host a campaign fundraising event.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.