Out of question: Kremlin on withdrawing from Ukraine by end of 2022
The Kremlin says that in order to achieve peace, it would be necessary for Kiev to take into account new realities, such as the accession of new regions to Russia.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that there can be no discussion about a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine before the end of the year.
"It is out of the question," Peskov answered when asked whether Russia was considering the possibility of withdrawing its troops from Ukraine before the end of 2022.
The Russian diplomat pointed out that in order to achieve peace, it would be necessary for the Kiev regime to take into account the new realities, such as the accession of new regions to Russia.
"The Ukrainian side will have to take into account the realities that emerged lately," Peskov said, adding that "these realities are a product of the policy that the Ukrainian leadership and the current Ukrainian regime have conducted for the past 15 or even 20 years."
The Russian Spokesperson explained that "these realities indicate Russia has new constituent territories. They appeared as a result of referendums that took place on these territories," pointing out that "without taking these new realities into account, any progress [towards a settlement] will be impossible."
According to Peskov, the Kremlin believes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's proposals for "steps towards peace" lead to further hostilities.
Zelensky had claimed that more weapons supply to Kiev was one of the steps that would bring Ukraine closer to peace.
"These are three steps towards further combat operations," Peskov said commenting on Zelensky’s remarks.
Russia never deployed heavy weapons at ZNPP: Kremlin
In another context, the Kremlin Spokesperson stressed that Russian heavy weapons have never been and are not now deployed at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP).
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had achieved a "withdrawal of heavy and light weapons" from the ZNPP.
"I would like to remind you remarks by President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin that there has not been any and are no heavy weapons at the power plant itself, and representatives of the IAEA, who are present there day and night, can definitely confirm this," Peskov told journalists.
He noted that Russia highly appreciates and continues talks with the IAEA on the security of the ZNPP.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said earlier that work on ensuring the safety and security of the ZNNP was in progress.
Located on the left bank of the Dnipro River, the ZNPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Amid the war in Ukraine, the station and surrounding area went under the control of the Russian forces and have since been shelled multiple times.
In early December, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova told Sputnik that it was untimely to say that Russia and Ukraine were close to agreeing on the creation of a safety zone around the ZNPP, as it was unclear whether Kiev was ready to stop the shelling of the plant.