Scholz Rejects Putin’s Peace Proposal as ‘Not Serious’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed that Moscow will engage in peace talks with Ukraine if Kiev withdraws its troops from the Donbass and two other regions.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has dismissed Putin’s proposal as a ploy to divert attention from the upcoming Ukraine “peace summit” in Switzerland.

On Friday, Putin told top Russian diplomats that Moscow “will order a ceasefire and start negotiations” if Ukraine fully withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

These four regions held referendums in the fall of 2022, voting to join Russia. However, neither the West nor Ukraine recognized the results of these referendums.

According to Putin, additional conditions for a lasting peace include Ukraine’s neutrality, a pledge not to pursue nuclear weapons, “demilitarization” and “denazification,” and the protection of the rights of Russian speakers. These points must be internationally recognized, followed by the lifting of Western sanctions against Russia, the president stated.

However, Scholz, in an interview with ZDF broadcaster on Saturday, said that “everyone knows that it is not a serious proposal,” suggesting it is a tactic related to the peace conference in Switzerland. He further asserted that Putin’s aim is to achieve “the classic, realistic conquest of land.” 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also rejected the proposal, calling it “nothing different than other ultimatums that he has made before.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed this sentiment, saying that “this is not a proposal made in good faith,” and that it would require Ukraine to “give up significantly more land” than Russia currently controls.

Putin’s proposal comes ahead of the Ukraine conference in Switzerland this weekend. This conference is expected to center around Zelensky’s ten-point “peace formula,” which demands, among other things, that Russia withdraw from all territories claimed by Ukraine. Russia has dismissed this formula as unrealistic.

Zelensky has stated that the “peace summit” will focus on three aspects of his plan: prisoner exchanges, and nuclear and food security. Putin has dismissed the conference as a Western attempt to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition, distract from the origins of the conflict, and bolster Zelensky’s claim to legitimacy after his presidential term ended last month.