MOSCOW Feb 20 The Kremlin said on Monday it had
no prior knowledge of a Ukrainian lawmaker's peace plan for his
country, which was detailed in the New York Times newspaper, and
called it absurd anyway.
The U.S. newspaper reported that Andrii Artemenko, a
Ukrainian lawmaker, had sent a proposal to associates of U.S.
President Donald Trump that was designed to end a simmering
conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and
According to the New York Times, the mooted plan would
entail Russian forces withdrawing from eastern Ukraine and
Ukrainian voters deciding in a referendum whether Crimea, which
Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, would be leased to Russia
for a term of 50 or 100 years.
Moscow denies it has any troops in Ukraine and has
repeatedly said it will not even discuss the status of Crimea.
When asked about the New York Times report, Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on
Monday that Artemenko's proposal had not previously been known
to the Kremlin and that it was absurd.
"There's nothing to talk about. How can Russia rent its own
region from itself?" said Peskov.
The only way the Ukraine crisis could be resolved was
through the Minsk peace accords, said Peskov.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Writing by Andrew Osborn;
Editing by Alexander Winning)