Jens Stoltenberg Reacts to Putin's Peace Offer: Proposal of More Aggression

Jens Stoltenberg stresses that the Russians should withdraw their forces from the occupied parts of Ukraine.

by Sead Dedovic
Jens Stoltenberg Reacts to Putin's Peace Offer: Proposal of More Aggression
© Alastair Grant - Pool/Getty Images News

Vladimir Putin surprised many today by openly stating that he is ready for a peace agreement with Ukraine, provided certain conditions are met. The Russian leader set out several demands: the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, as well as from the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. Additionally, Putin emphasized that if Ukrainians agreed to these terms and abandoned their plans to join NATO, hostilities would cease immediately, and negotiations could start.

Naturally, this statement caused a quick response from Ukrainian authorities. They rejected Putin's conditions as entirely unacceptable, asserting that he is holding unrealistic expectations. They emphasized that the Russian president's demands do not reflect the current reality and are not a viable basis for peace. This situation stresses the deep-seated challenges and the huge gap between the positions of the two countries, making the path to peace a complex and uncertain endeavor.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reacts

Immediately after Vladimir Putin's statements, prominent figures on the political scene, such as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, responded. Given that the majority of the world supports Ukraine, it was expected that this would be the case again. During a press conference, Stoltenberg emphasized that such a proposal once again highlights Russia's objectives. Stoltenberg believes that the Russians want Ukrainians to relinquish greatly more land than the Russians could occupy. Stoltenberg does not see this as a peace proposal for a multitude of reasons.

Jens Stoltenberg stresses that the Russians should withdraw their forces from the occupied parts of Ukraine.

"It's not for Ukraine to withdraw forces from Ukrainian territory. It's for Russia to withdraw their forces from occupied Ukrainian land," he said.

"This is a proposal of more aggression, more occupation. And it demonstrates in a way that Russia's aim is to control Ukraine and that has been the purpose of Russia since the beginning of this war. And that's a blatant violation of international law and that's also the reason why NATO Allies continue to support Ukraine."- he said, as translated by Interfax.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin© Associated Press / Youtube channel

A journalist from The Wall Street Journal also had an interesting question for Stoltenberg, concerning the weekend in Switzerland and the peace summit that Ukraine is organizing. The journalist specifically highlighted the fact that Saudi Arabia, China, and India will not be there.

Stoltenberg emphasized right from the start that the peace summit in Switzerland is a fantastic thing for everyone and an excellent way to find a solution on how to achieve peace in Ukraine. Stoltenberg is someone who has consistently advocated for peace in Ukraine from the beginning, showing readiness to assist this country at every moment. 

Jens Stoltenberg: I welcome the peace summit in Switzerland

Stoltenberg confirmed that discussions will cover a multitude of issues regarding the war in Ukraine, not only peace but also how to return people to their homes, and many elements concerning the peace plan. It is very important that major countries of the world be part of this summit, but it's clear that some are not ready and openly show bias towards Russia.

"First of all, I welcome the peace summit in Switzerland. I think that's an important platform to address how to find a lasting, just peace for Ukraine, and the different elements which are in the peace plan proposed by President Zelenskyy are all important for a lasting peace. The territorial integrity of Ukraine, compensation and also the return of people who have been forced to move from their homes and there are many other elements which are important element –parts of his peace plan and I think it's important that countries from all over the world will convene in Switzerland and to address this way forward."- he said, as quoted by NATO.

Stoltenberg's statement underscores the importance of the summit despite the absence of certain major powers, emphasizing NATO's support for Ukraine and peace. He acknowledges the absence of these powers as their own decision, yet highlights the summit's importance in striving for peace.

Moreover, he stresses a crucial point: achieving a lasting and just peace depends on Russia ceasing its aggression towards Ukraine. Stoltenberg argues that increasing military support to Ukraine and maintaining long-term commitment are key. He believes that strengthening this support will cause President Putin to recognize the resolve behind NATO's stance, potentially quickening the path to peace.

It's difficult to reach a definitive conclusion and predict when peace could actually occur. From this perspective, peace seems like the last possible outcome. It's clear that the Russian leader will not easily abandon his goals. Only huge hardship can compel Putin to end his operations in Ukraine.

Until then, we have to be patient and believe in a better tomorrow.