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Russia opposes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's proposal to put a possible peace agreement to a popular vote, saying it will be detrimental to negotiations between the two sides.
Moscow has argued that the ongoing talks, which seek to end the current conflict in Ukraine, will be affected by such a referendum. In this regard, Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the negotiations at this point are not being substantial enough, noting that they are already going a lot slower.
President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed submitting historically significant peace terms to a popular vote, pointing out that the details were still dependent on talks with Russia. The Ukrainian leader has already put forward a number of failed plebiscites.
Otherwise, several rounds of talks have already been held in person in Belarus between the delegations of the two countries, Ukraine and Russia, but it has been decided to continue the discussions by videoconference in an attempt to speed up the process.
As for the talks, the Ukrainian leader has reiterated that Kiev was looking for security guarantees from Russia and the West. Russia, for its part, has established as key issues the abstention from Ukraine to become a NATO member. Moscow has also claimed it wanted the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as Ukraine's recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, and the sovereignty of the Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples Republics.
��Russia responds to Zelensky’s Ukraine referendum proposal Putting the peace terms up for a popular vote in Ukraine will harm the negotiations, Russia has said
Shortly after the overthrow of the elected government in Kiev that followed the 2014 coup, Crimea, which first came under Kiev's control when both countries were part of the USSR, voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. The Luhansk and Donetsk republics seceded from Ukraine the same year with Russian support.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation in Ukraine last February 24 aimed at the demilitarization and denazification of the country, which was carrying out an increasing shelling of the Donbass region. In this respect, Ukraine affirms that the Russian attack was unprovoked and has also rejected claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
The current situation in Ukraine goes back several years, the region is facing a long-standing confrontation. Kiev's non-compliance with the Minsk peace agreements and Russia's subsequent recognition of the independence of the DPR and LPR have been triggers for the ongoing conflict.