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What are Russia's demands for an end to the war in Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin is demanding Ukraine cede the annexed territory of Crimea and recognize the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk in ceasefire talks.

Update:
People keep warm by fires outside the main rail terminal on March 07, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Dan KitwoodGetty Images

Russia has made its demands plain before the Kremlin will consider calling a halt to the invasion of Ukraine launched on 24 February. Vladimir Putin cited security concerns over Ukraine’s intention to attempt to join NATO and the European Union in the lead-up the Russian assault and these issues were raised again when representatives of the two nations met at Belovezhskaya Pushcha, on the border of Poland and Belarus for initial talks over a peace agreement. While these have so far failed to bear fruit on key issues, among them a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians, both sides continue to engage in “intense negotiations” over a ceasefire and “security guarantees.”

Before the meeting of Russian and Ukrainian diplomats, some of the Kremlin’s demands were publicly leaked. Putin’s government has laid out two conditions for an “immediate ceasefire” that will have to be met before the Russian advance is halted: Ukraine ceding Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and the recognition of the separatist “people’s republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters Moscow on Monday that Russia would halt operations if Ukraine ceased fighting, amended its constitution to declare neutrality, and recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea and the independence of the two disputed regions held by Russian-backed separatists.

We are not taking Luhansk and Donetsk from Ukraine,” Petrov told Reuters. “Luhansk and Donetsk do not want to be part of Ukraine.” The Kremlin official added: “This does not mean they should be destroyed.”

Russia wants Ukrainian Constitution to be redrawn

However, Russia did not stop at its demands over Crimea and the separatist regions. The Kremlin has also stated that it wants the Ukrainian Constitution to be rewritten to guarantee the country’s neutrality between NATO and Moscow.

Ukraine is an independent state and can live as it wishes, but under conditions of neutrality,” Peskov said. The Kremlin spokesman also reiterated a demand made by Putin over the weekend that before Moscow will consider any let-up in its assault as a precursor to a negotiated settlement, Ukraine must lay down its arms. "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," he said.

"They should make amendments to their constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc. We have also spoken about how they should recognize that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognize that Donetsk and Lugansk are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment," Peskov added.

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