NewsUkrainian leader reveals Russian conditions for peace talks

Ukrainian leader reveals Russian conditions for peace talks

Ukraine's peace talks with Russia in Minsk
Ukraine's peace talks with Russia in Minsk
Images source: © East News | BelTA
ed. MCZ
12:41 PM EST, November 25, 2023

Davyd Arakhamia, leader of the People's Servant faction, spearheaded the Ukrainian delegation in the "peaceful" talks with Russia in Belarus and Turkey in 2022. He reports that the Russian delegation proposed peace to Kyiv, contingent upon Ukraine's refusal to join NATO. However, the Ukrainians were skeptical of their promise.

Arakhamia stated that during a gathering with the African delegation, Vladimir Putin presented what was purportedly a pre-prepared draft of a peace agreement with Ukraine, decided upon during the negotiations held in Belarus.

Did Putin prepare an agreement?

The "Agreement on the Permanent Neutrality of Ukraine and Security Guarantees" entailed 18 articles, detailing everything from military equipment to the personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Interestingly, the document seemed to bear the signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation.

Arachamia highlighted: "Curiously, Vladimir Putin has not made this document public. Can you guess why? If he had such a document, wouldn't he share it?"

"They were quite hopeful, nearly until the end, that they could coerce us into signing it, thereby accepting neutrality. This was paramount for them. They were willing to end the war if we agreed," he underlined.

The crux of the matter was that the rest was purely political rhetoric and 'flavoring' on topics such as denazification, Russian-speaking population, and so forth, noted the deputy.

In response to why Ukraine didn't agree, Arachamia expressed hesitance in trusting the Russians, stating, "they're ready to promise everything".

"Firstly, agreeing on this matter would necessitate a constitutional amendment. Our journey to NATO is enshrined in the constitution," he emphasized, "Secondly, we couldn't be certain Russia would honor it. It could only be implemented given ample security guarantees. We couldn’t just sign something, withdraw, let everyone be complacent and then have them invade us even more prepared–they clearly hadn’t anticipated such strong resistance. We could only consider this course of action once we had complete confidence that such a situation wouldn't recur. Currently, we lack that assurance," he added.

"Moreover, upon our return from Istanbul, Boris Johnson arrived in Kyiv and declared that we wouldn't sign anything with Russia and would continue the fight," Arachamia recalled. He also clarified that the Ukrainian delegation wasn't authorized to sign such a document; that could only be done by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"The advice given to us was not to entertain ethereal security guarantees with the Russians, which, at the time, were still substantially uncertain," said the leader of the People's Servant faction.

Following Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine sought peace negotiations. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeatedly implored Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for a personal meeting to resolve pressing issues, an appeal that Putin dismissed. Ultimately, Zelenskyy declared that Putin's proclamations of wanting peace were disingenuous and approved the National Security Council's decision declaring negotiations with Putin impossible.

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