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Kremlin: Russia’s offensive to end as soon as Ukraine forces lay down weapons

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo by TASS news agency shows a Russian tank with crew in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

The Kremlin says Russia will halt its months-long military offensive in neighboring Ukraine as soon as Ukrainian forces surrender.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that hostilities in Ukraine could end "before the end of today" if Kiev orders the nationalists to lay down their weapons and Moscow's demands are met.

"The Ukrainian side can end all this before the end of today; an order is necessary for the nationalist units to lay down their weapons, an order is necessary for the Ukrainian military to lay down their weapons; and they must fulfill all Russia's demands. Then everything will be over before the day ends," Peskov said.

"Everything else are just speculations of the Ukrainian head of state," he added. "We are guided by the statements of our President Vladimir Putin that the special military operation is going according to plan and achieving its goals."

Asked whether the Russian side had any approximate timeframe for the end of the offensive in Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman responded in the negative.

Peskov made the comment while reacting to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's remark that he would like to end the hostilities before the end of the year.

Zelensky urged world powers on Monday to do their utmost to help end Russia's offensive before the cold season, also saying that the time was not ripe for holding talks with Russia as Kiev was seeking to consolidate its positions.

In a statement on Monday, the Group of Seven (G7) countries expressed full support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, pledging to further tighten sanctions on Moscow.

Addressing G7 leaders at their summit in the Bavarian Alps via video link, the Ukrainian president called for arms supplies and air defenses to gain the upper hand in the conflict.

Since the start of Russia's military strikes on February 24, the US and its Western allies have been imposing sanctions against Moscow. More than four months after the Kremlin launched its offensive against Ukraine, Russian troops have taken control of nearly the entire Donbass region, focusing their military attention on northeastern Ukraine.

G7 slams Russia's 'illegal' war on Ukraine

In a separate development on Tuesday, G7 leaders in a statement denounced Russia's offensive as "illegal and unjustifiable."

"We, the leaders of the Group of Seven ... were joined by the leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa, as well as Ukraine," they said in their draft final statement. "We re-emphasize our condemnation of Russia's illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine."

The G7 leaders also agreed to explore imposing a ban on transporting Russian oil that had been sold above a certain price, ramping up pressure on Moscow over the soaring global inflation and energy shortages fueled by the country's offensive in Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said an oil price cap would ratchet up the existing Western pressure on Russia, stressing that the sanctions would stay until Moscow accepted failure in Ukraine.

"There is only one way out: for Putin to accept that his plans in Ukraine will not succeed," Scholz told a closing news conference at the three-day G7 summit, adding that the aim of the ban was to tie financial services, insurance, and the shipping of oil cargoes to a price ceiling. "We invite all like-minded countries to consider joining us in our actions."

The International Energy Agency announced in its June monthly report that the revenues from Russian oil export had soared in May even as volumes had fallen.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian gas giant Gazprom could seek to change the terms of its delivery contracts if Western governments implemented a price cap on Russian gas.

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