Western leaders reject Russia’s peace offer

The premiers of Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom have dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cease-fire terms.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called Putin’s terms for peace “propaganda,” as she wrapped up a Group of Seven summit in southern Italy.

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Sholz had a similarly negative reaction to Putin’s proposal. In an interview with German broadcaster ARD he said, “What he (Putin) is ultimately proposing is to document his imperialist raids.”

Scholz implied that the terms outlined by Putin were aimed at Russia’s public, who he said wanted to see a peaceful outcome to the war rather than genuine peace terms. Scholz also accused Putin of attempting to “obscure” his role in starting the war against Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised in a speech on Friday to “immediately” order a cease-fire and start negotiations if Kyiv began withdrawing troops from the four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and renounced its plans to join NATO.

On Saturday British Prime Minister dismissed Putin’s proposal at the Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland, saying he has “no real interest in a genuine peace” and that the summit aimed to discuss and uphold territorial integrity, among other issues.

At the same summit European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen took aim at Putin’s offer, saying “freezing the conflict today with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land is not an answer” and implying that this would lead to an extension of the conflict.

She added that a sustainable peace would secure Ukraine’s territorial integrity as a priority.

Vice President of the United States, who attended the Swiss summit instead of US President Joe Biden commented that, “Putin is not calling for negotiations, he is calling for surrender.”

United States security advisor Jake Sullivan, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, talk during a bilateral meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Switzerland.

Calls for respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty were echoed through the summit which aims to present the basis for a lasting peace in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron posted on X that a lasting peace would respect Ukraine’s “sovereignty.”

The conference in Switzerland bring together over 90 delegations- including several heads of state- to discuss peace in Ukraine for the first time since the invasion began in February 2022.

Russia was not invited to attend the summit, after making clear it would not begin peace negotiations with Ukraine unless Kyiv recognised Russia’s territorial gains.

Ukraine’s terms for negotiations include expelling Russian forces from its territory- including the annexed Crimean Peninsula- restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and for Russia to be held accountable for war crimes.

Kyiv has also said that Moscow should pay reparations to Ukraine for starting the war between the two countries and that it would continue its application process to become a member of NATO.

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