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    Blinken Says No Ukraine Cease-Fire Without a Peace Deal that Includes Russia’s Withdrawal

    Blinken Says No Ukraine Cease-Fire Without a Peace Deal that Includes Russia's Withdrawal

    KYIV, — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that a cease-fire in the war in Ukraine can not be declared unless it is part of a “just and lasting” peace deal that includes Russia's military withdrawal.

    Blinken said that “a cease-fire that simply freezes current lines in place” and allows Russian President Vladimir Putin “to consolidate control over the territory he has seized, and rest, rearm, and reattack — that is not a just and lasting peace.”

    Russia must also pay a share of Ukraine's reconstruction and be held accountable for launching its full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February 2022, Blinken said in a speech during a visit to Finland, which recently joined and shares a long border with Russia.

    Allowing to keep the one-fifth of Ukraine territory it has occupied would send the wrong message to Russia and to “other would-be aggressors around the world,” according to Blinken.

    Russia, however, wants any talks to address Ukraine's request to join NATO. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pushed for the country's membership in the Western military alliance that the Kremlin sees as a threat.

    “Naturally, this (issue) will be one of the main irritants and potential problems for many, many years to come,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

    Blinken said is ready to support peace efforts by other countries, including recent overtures…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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