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Ukraine Calls for Massive ‘Demilitarized Zone’ Inside Russia

by | May 30, 2023

Ukraine Calls for Massive ‘Demilitarized Zone’ Inside Russia

by | May 30, 2023

ukraine war bakhmut

As a condition for ending the war, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded Moscow remove its military forces along its border with Ukraine. The official voiced hopes that the buffer area within Russia would be manned by international troops.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak floated the proposal on Monday, tweeting that “It will be necessary to introduce a demilitarization zone of 100-120 km on the territory of Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk, and Rostov republics,” referring to Russian regions along the border. He said the zone should be overseen by ”a mandatory international control contingent at the first stage.”

Kiev is seeking to take control over Moscow’s nuclear and missile programs as well. “Reduction of offensive weapons (missiles with extended range). International conference to organize control over the nuclear arsenal of the [Russian Federation],” Podolyak said in a separate tweet.

Podolyak has made other maximalist demands of Moscow in recent days. On Saturday, he stated that the war could only end when the Russian government of Vladimir Putin was removed from power, adding “there is nothing to talk about” with the current Kremlin administration and that Putin should be extradited for war crimes.

While Kiev makes one-sided proposals for ending the conflict, the Ukrainian army is struggling to regain territory captured by Moscow. Russian forces control about 20% of Ukraine, recently taking the city of Bakhmut after a brutal months-long battle. The Kremlin says it has annexed about five Ukrainian oblasts and will not return them to Kiev’s control.

It seems unlikely Kiev would be able to force Moscow to make the concessions demanded by Podolyak.

However, the conditions laid out by Zelensky’s adviser could hinder international efforts aimed at ending the war in Ukraine. While Brazil’s left-leaning President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attempted to build momentum towards a peace deal, the initiative was scuttled when Zelensky skipped a meeting with the Brazilian leader. Moreover, a coalition of African nations and China are also now working towards a negotiated settlement in the war.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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