NewsMissed peace for Ukraine. A near-agreement that could have stopped the war

Missed peace for Ukraine. A near-agreement that could have stopped the war

Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul
Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul
Images source: © East News | Sha Dati

6:28 AM EDT, April 27, 2024

A peace agreement could have been reached just a few weeks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to "Die Welt". A 17-page agreement draft, which the parties had seemingly agreed on by April 15, 2022, outlined the terms for ending the war.

The editorial team at Die Welt discovered a document containing the terms for reaching peace. The newspaper reports that only a few issues remain unresolved, which were scheduled to be discussed in person at a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Unfortunately, this meeting never took place.

In the proposed treaty, Ukraine was to commit to "permanent neutrality", renouncing any membership in military alliances, thereby excluding itself from NATO accession. Nevertheless, per Article 3 of the document, there were no direct barriers to Ukraine becoming an EU member.

Ukraine had consented to never "receive, produce or purchase" nuclear weapons, to disallow foreign weapons and soldiers within its borders, and to withhold its military infrastructure, including airports and seaports, from any foreign country.

Russia's commitment to not attack Ukraine

In return, Russia assured that it would not launch further attacks on Ukraine. As a security measure for Kyiv, Moscow agreed that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia itself, could offer Ukraine comprehensive security guarantees.

Should Ukraine face another armed attack, the guarantor countries were pledged to assist Kyiv in its right to self-defence as per the Charter of the United Nations for up to three days. This assistance was a "joint action" by any or all guarantor states. Russia stipulated that activation of the support mechanism required unanimous agreement from all guarantor states, granting Moscow a de facto veto power over bypassing the defence mechanism. Additionally, Moscow refused Ukraine's request to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine by the guarantor states in case of an attack.

Regarding territorial disputes, Russia was open to withdrawing from Ukraine except for Crimea and parts of Donbas, which were to be excluded from the security guarantees. The specifics of the withdrawal were meant to be a direct discussion point between Putin and Zelensky.

"It was the best deal we could have had"

"It was the best deal we could have had," an anonymous member of the Ukrainian delegation told Die Welt.

"Die Welt" analyzes in the publication that Ukraine has been on the defensive for several months and has suffered heavy losses. It is noted that, looking back, Ukraine had a stronger negotiating position earlier than it does now. The analysis suggests that if the war had ended approximately two months after it started, it would have saved the lives of countless human beings.

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