In an interview with Reuters, Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman for decades, made a startling offer. Moscow could end the Ukraine war immediately, said Peskov, if four conditions were met.
Ukraine should cease all military action, recognize Crimea as part of Russia, accept the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk separatist enclaves, and enact a constitutional commitment to “neutrality,” which would prevent Ukraine from ever joining NATO.
Were this to be done, said Peskov, the war “will stop in a moment.”
As this would restore the situation in Ukraine to the “status quo ante” that existed before Putin ordered the invasion, Peskov’s offer seemed not to be believable.
Yet, according to The New York Times, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “seemed surprisingly open to the idea.”
Zelenskyy “said he had ‘cooled down’ on joining NATO, saying it was clear the western alliance ‘is not prepared to accept Ukraine.'”
As for Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea, said Zelenskyy, “We can discuss and find a compromise on how these territories will live on.”
Monday, Ukraine and Russia held a fourth session of peace talks, and expressions of optimism were heard from both sides.