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Russia says it’s ready to halt military operations ‘in a moment’ if demands are met

Nearly two weeks after starting an unprovoked and violent siege of Ukraine, Russia has told Kyiv it is ready to quickly halt military operations if certain lofty demands are met, according to a Kremlin spokesman.

Those demands include requesting that Ukraine stop all military action, change its constitution to reject any intention to enter any bloc such as NATO or the European Union, acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory and recognize the two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, Dmitry Peskov said Monday, as reported by Reuters.

“We really are finishing the demilitarization of Ukraine. We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot,” Peskov told Reuters.

“We have also spoken about how they should recognize that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognize that Donetsk and Lugansk [Luhansk] are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment,” he added.

Ukrainian officials are aware of the demands, which were made during the first two rounds of talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations last week, Peskov said.

Kyiv has yet to respond to the stipulations, which are the most clear-cut list of demands Russia has made of the former Soviet state to stop its so-called special military operation that began on Feb. 24.

As of Sunday, Russia has sent into Ukraine nearly all of the more than 150,000 forces it had assembled near the border prior to the invasion, about 95 percent, according to a senior defense official.

Moscow has invaded Ukraine from the north, south and east, attacking major cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson and the port of Mariupol and causing more than 1 million people to flee.

The conflict, the worst land military action in Europe since World War II, has set off international outrage and led to heavy financial penalties on Russia.

Russia insists, however, that it was forced to invade Ukraine due to unfounded claims of threats from Kyiv.

Peskov said the attack was made to protect the 3 million Russian-speaking individuals in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, who he claimed were being threatened by 100,000 Ukrainian troops supplied with U.S. and British weapons, an assertion Ukraine has emphatically denied.

He also said Russia had to act to counter perceived threats from NATO, and it was “only a matter of time” before the alliance put missiles in Ukraine. 

“We just understood we could not put up with this anymore. We had to act,” he said. 

Delegations from Russia and Ukraine were set to meet on Monday for a third round of talks meant to end Moscow’s attack.

Tags Crimea Demands Donetsk People's Republic invasion Lugansk Russia Ukraine
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