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Ceasefire? Ukrainian Officials Deliberate Russian Troop Withdrawal Plans in Quest for 'Restoration of Justice'

Ukrainian Officials Discuss Russian Withdrawal
Source: MEGA

Ukranian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov.

Jan. 17 2024, Published 11:02 a.m. ET

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Almost two years since Russian troops entered Ukraine, the country reportedly is adopting a new strategy to facilitate their departure.

Ukraine's Defense Minister, Rustem Umerov, is proposing the creation of an international working group at the level of defense ministers and national security advisers to collaborate on withdrawal plans.

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Umerov presented the proposal recently at the Davos Forum, a prelude to the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

This working group marks the sixth component of a comprehensive plan outlined by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Umerov claims that 83 countries have already endorsed the initial five points of the plan.

Emphasizing the importance of complete withdrawal and disarmament for the restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty, Umerov said, "It is impossible to talk about the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity without the complete withdrawal and disarmament of Russian troops and terrorist organizations," according to RBC Ukraine.

Despite the proposal, Ukrainian officials, including Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, clarified that Kyiv opposes a freeze in the conflict with fixed military battle lines. Yermak asserted, "This is unacceptable to Ukrainian society. Ukraine does not need frozen conflicts. Ukraine needs a just peace."

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He added that the government aims to prevent potential aggressions in the future, acknowledging diverse perspectives on the withdrawal process but insisting it must adhere to international law and the United Nations Charter.

However, the primary challenge lies in getting Russia to accept the proposal, as Vladimir Putin's government shows no indication of an official withdrawal.

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Additionally, Ukraine faces financial constraints in sustaining its fight against Russia. U.S. aid, approved by President Joe Biden at the end of 2023, is dwindling, and further funds are stalled due to competing priorities, such as the U.S.-Mexican border, which is part of the aid package. The European Union's $54 billion aid plan is also hindered by objections from Hungary.

The Ukrainian Peace Formula, introduced by Zelensky at a Group of Seven summit in October 2022, comprises ten points, including a “restoration of justice” with a tribunal for aggressors, the release of all prisoners, environmental safety measures and strategies to prevent future conflicts.

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Food and energy security, as well as radiation and nuclear safety, are integral aspects of the formula, with concerns centered around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Zelensky is set to attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, where he is expected to speak and potentially meet with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

The bank is assisting Ukraine in securing private funds for rebuilding projects, although the details of Zelensky's agenda for Davos are yet to be finalized. JPMorgan has not commented on reports of the planned meeting.

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