War in Ukraine: Vladimir Putin demands the recognition of Crimea, the denazification of Ukraine and its neutral status
Steph Deschamps / March 1, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Monday to demand the recognition of Crimea as Russian territory, the denazification of the Ukrainian government and a neutral status of Kiev, as a prerequisite to ending the invasion of Ukraine.
Putin called for recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, completion of the demilitarization and denazification of the Ukrainian state and guaranteeing its neutral status as a precondition for any settlement, the Kremlin said in a statement after a telephone conversation between the two heads of state.
By using the term denazification, the Kremlin exposes its objective to overthrow the Ukrainian regime, including President Zelensky in the first place, analyzed Friday the Belgian ambassador to NATO, Pascal Heyman. For the White House spokesman, Ned Price, Volodymyr Zelensky embodies in many ways the democratic ambitions of Ukraine.
The Russian president stressed that the resolution of the conflict was possible only if the legitimate security interests of Russia were taken into account unconditionally, according to the Kremlin. Russia considers itself the victim of NATO's ambitions in Eastern Europe. It intends to ban any future enlargement of the North Atlantic Alliance, in particular to Ukraine.
The Russian side is open to negotiations with representatives of Ukraine and hopes that they will lead to the hoped-for results, the Russian presidency assured. Mr. Macron and Putin are referring to the talks between Kiev and Moscow that began a few hours ago in Belarus. Before their launch, the Kremlin said it did not want to announce its position, while Ukraine is calling for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces.
The negotiations are taking place at a time when the Russian offensive, launched on February 24, is being resisted by the Ukrainian army and when sanctions on an unprecedented scale, adopted by the West, are shaking the Russian economy.