The Russian president said that Moscow would open talks as soon as Kiev withdraws its troops from Donbass and two other regions German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. © Virginia Mayo / POOL / AFP

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new proposal to achieve a lasting peace between Moscow and Kiev, branding the overture a ploy to distract the global community from the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace summit.’

Speaking to the country’s top diplomats on Friday, Putin signaled that Russia “will order a ceasefire and start negotiations” as soon as Kiev completely withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

The four regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in referendums in the fall of 2022. Neither the West nor Kiev recognized the votes.

Other conditions for a lasting peace, according to Putin, include Ukraine’s neutral status, a pledge not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons, “demilitarization” and “denazification,” and respect for the rights of the Russian-speaking population. All of those points should be fundamentally recognized at the international level, followed by the removal of Western sanctions against Russia, the president said.

Russia was ready to withdraw from southern Ukraine – Putin Russia was ready to withdraw from southern Ukraine – Putin

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Russia was ready to withdraw from southern Ukraine – Putin

However, in an interview with the broadcaster ZDF on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy on Saturday, Scholz stated that “everyone knows that it is not a serious proposal,” suggesting that “it has something to do with the peace conference taking place in Switzerland.” He also claimed that the initiative revealed that Putin was after “the classic, realistic conquest of land.”

In similar remarks, the proposal was dismissed by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, who branded it “nothing different than other ultimatums that he has made before.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also claimed that “this is not a proposal made in good faith,” adding that it would require Kiev to “give up significantly more land” than Russia currently controls.

Putin’s new peace overture comes ahead of the Swiss-hosted conference on Ukraine this weekend. The event is expected to revolve around Zelensky’s ten-point ‘peace formula,’ which demands that Russia, among other things, withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev. Moscow has rejected the initiative as detached from reality.

According to Zelensky, the ‘peace summit’ will focus only on three points of Kiev’s plan: prisoner exchanges, and nuclear and food security. Putin has dismissed the conference as a Western trick to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition, distract attention from the roots of the conflict, and boost Zelensky’s claim to legitimacy after his presidential term expired last month. (RT)