Russia Answers Ukraine Ultimatum With One of Its Own

Moscow demands that Ukraine demilitarize
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2022 9:20 AM CST
Russia: Ukraine Must Demilitarize Itself, or We'll Do It
A Ukrainian serviceman holds a photo of his comrade during the funeral of Volodymyr Yezhov at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Will Russia and Ukraine have peace talks? Vladimir Putin raised the possibility, but the two nations sound worlds apart at the moment based on their latest statements. On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Ukraine must meet Moscow's demand for "demilitarization" and "denazification," as well as the removal of the military threat to Russia, per the AP. Otherwise, he added, "the Russian army [will] solve the issue." Lavrov also accused the West of fueling the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia, and said that it depends on Kyiv and Washington how long the conflict, which started on Feb. 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine, will last.

In an apparent reaction, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that "Russia needs to face the reality." "Neither total mobilization, nor panicky search for ammo, nor secret contracts with Iran, nor Lavrov's threats will help," he said. "Ukraine will demilitarize the RF [Russian Federation] to the end, oust the invaders from all occupied territories. Wait for the finale silently..." A day earlier, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his government wants a summit to end the war but that he doesn't anticipate Russia taking part.

Kuleba said Ukraine wants a "peace" summit within two months with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acting as mediator. But he also said that Russia must face a war crimes tribunal before his country directly talks with Moscow. All the statements illustrate how complex and difficult any attempts to end the war could be. Ukraine has said in the past that it wouldn't negotiate with Russia before the full withdrawal of its troops, while Moscow insists its military gains and the 2014 annexation of the Crimea Peninsula can't be ignored. Meanwhile, fierce fighting continued on Tuesday in the Russia-claimed Donetsk and Luhansk regions that recently have been the scene of the most intense clashes.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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