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1 Mar, 2024 11:50

Details of failed Russia-Ukraine peace deal ‘revealed’ – WSJ

The terms allowed Kiev to seek membership of the EU, but not NATO, according to the outlet
Details of failed Russia-Ukraine peace deal ‘revealed’ – WSJ

The Wall Street Journal has published what it claims are details of a draft peace agreement discussed by Russia and Ukraine shortly after the outbreak of the conflict between the two countries in February 2022. According to the outlet, Kiev’s neutrality was among the key concessions demanded by Moscow.

The alleged terms of the draft agreement the US outlet detailed in its article on Friday haven’t been officially confirmed by either Russian or Ukrainian officials.

The WSJ claimed that the 17-page document dated April 15, 2022 allowed Ukraine to seek membership of the EU, but not NATO. It also limited the size of Kiev’s military and confirmed Crimea as part of Russia, the outlet said.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov reacted to the report by saying that Moscow and Kiev did agree on a draft peace treaty several weeks after the start of the fighting, but Russia does not want this document to be published.

“The entire negotiation process was terminated by the decision of the Ukrainian side on the order received from the UK,” Peskov claimed.

Moscow and Kiev held talks in Istanbul in late March 2022, with the Russian side initially expressing optimism on the peace process. However, Russia later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all progress achieved in Türkiye, saying it had lost trust in Kiev’s negotiators.

Media reports that then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kiev specifically to persuade President Vladimir Zelensky’s government to withdraw from the talks with Moscow were confirmed by Ukraine’s top negotiator in Istanbul, David Arakhamia, in November. Johnson has denied any role in derailing the peace talks.

Peskov stressed that “in March 2022 there were certain conditions on ground, but now there are different conditions and a different legal status of the territories that became regions of Russia – that’s written in the Constitution of our country.”

The spokesman was referring to the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, which were officially incorporated into the Russian state in the fall of 2022, following referendums held in those areas. Kiev and its backers in the West have refused to recognize the results of the votes, labeling them a “sham.”

The Wall Street Journal claimed that the draft peace deal did not address the issue of those territories. Their future was due to be discussed in direct talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky, which never materialized, the outlet said.

The report said states such as the US, UK, France, China and Russia were intended to become the guarantors of the peace agreement.

Moscow also reportedly wanted the Russian language to be used by the Ukrainian government and courts on par with Ukrainian. However, Kiev’s negotiators declined to sign this clause, the outlet claimed.

Russia and Ukraine haven’t sat at the negotiating table since the talks in Istanbul. Russian officials have repeatedly voiced their readiness to settle the crisis through diplomacy. Moscow has blamed Kiev and its backers in the West for refusing any meaningful dialogue, saying this left it with no choice but to continue pursuing its goals on the battlefield.

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