Russia says Ukraine settlement only possible if Kyiv stops 'hostilities, terrorist attacks'

Russia says Ukraine settlement only possible if Kyiv stops 'hostilities, terrorist attacks'

Western countries must also end pumping Ukrainian forces with weapons, says deputy foreign minister

By Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) - Moscow on Thursday said a settlement in Ukraine is only possible if Kyiv stops its “hostilities and terrorist attacks” on Russian territory.

“We continue to adhere to our principled position that a comprehensive, sustainable and fair settlement is possible only if the Kyiv regime stops hostilities and terrorist attacks, and its Western sponsors stop pumping the Ukrainian forces with weapons,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin told TASS, the Russian state news agency.

He added that a peace formula proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has “nothing to do with a peaceful settlement.”

It is “a set of ultimatums to Russia demanding surrender,” adding that proposals were also presented by China, Brazil and a number of African countries, many of which showed “a deep understanding of the root causes of the Ukrainian conflict and its geopolitical significance.”

Zelenskyy's 10-point peace formula, which includes withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities, and restoration of Ukraine's state borders with Russia, was laid out at the November summit of G-20.

Meanwhile, weekend talks on the conflict were held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. More than 40 countries, including China, India, the US and European countries, but not Russia, took part.

“The original foundations of Ukraine's sovereignty must be confirmed – its neutral, non-aligned and non-nuclear status. The new territorial realities must be recognized, the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, the rights of its Russian-speaking citizens and national minorities must be ensured in accordance with the requirements of international law,” the minister said.

He said creation of the Ukraine-NATO Council did not bring fundamental changes or new threats to Moscow, adding that the alliance’s insistence of Kyiv's membership to NATO after the end of the conflict showed it will continue to use Ukraine “as a consumable in their proxy war against Russia.”

- ‘Deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus response to Western threats’

Galuzin also touched upon the recent tensions at the border between Minsk and Warsaw, saying the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is a response to “the aggravation of threats from the West for our country and the Union State.”

“This step fully complies with all norms of international law and does not contradict the international obligations of Russia and Belarus,” Galuzin said, expressing that NATO’s actions in response to Moscow and Minsk’s strengthening of their security will “only lead to a further increase in escalation, including an increase in nuclear risks.”

He said the Wagner paramilitary group’s presence in Belarus is “nothing more than another artificial pretext for Warsaw to start a new round of military preparations.”

“It is worth recalling that in an attempt to cover up their own militaristic plans, Polish state propaganda has not shied away from using any pretexts,” he added.

Russia and Belarus are jointly taking adequate measures against threats, saying additional deployments of “regional group of troops” have been carried out in Belarus since last October.

“Close cooperation in the military-technical sphere continues … There is no doubt that we are able, through joint efforts, to respond symmetrically to any unfriendly steps taken by the Polish leadership,” he said.

Tensions between Belarus, a Russian ally, and Poland have risen in recent days, particularly because of the presence of the Wagner paramilitary group, which found refuge in the Eastern European country after its short-lived mutiny against Moscow in June.

The Polish government on Wednesday said it is planning to deploy an additional 2,000 troops to its border with Belarus, and accused the Belarusian authorities of organizing illegal migration.

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