Kremlin says Ukraine NATO deal story is false
The Kremlin has rubbished a Reuters report on Wednesday that claimed Russian officials had made a deal with Ukraine that would have kept Kiev out of NATO.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the news agencies allegations were completely unfounded.
The outlet claimed that at the beginning of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine in late February, Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Kremlin Chief of Staff, managed to hammer out a provisional accord with Kiev that would see it walk back on its bid to join NATO.
According to the report, Kozak recommended the deal, but it was rejected by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters’ sources said that the Russian leader made it clear that the concessions his aide had gained from Kiev did not go far enough.
Commenting on the Reuters story, Peskov said that it “has absolutely no relation to reality”. “No such thing ever happened. It is absolutely incorrect information,” he stressed.
Over the years, Moscow has repeatedly sounded the alarm over NATO encroaching on Russia’s borders as the military alliance accepted new members from Eastern Europe. Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO and the deployment of Western troops and military hardware on its territory have been particularly contentious points for Moscow.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.