November 29, 2023

Russia's Unrealistic Peace Offer


Russia's Unrealistic Peace Offer
A Ukrainian flag. Vika Strawberrika, Unsplash.

Davyd Arakhamia, leader of the ruling "Servant of the People" party in Ukrainian parliament, revealed that, in the spring of 2022, Russian negotiators proposed a conditional peace deal.

Arakhamia, who spearheaded Ukraine's delegation in talks with Russia, said Russian negotiators offered to halt their invasion if Ukraine agreed not to join NATO. The senior Ukrainian lawmaker did not provide further details about the previously undisclosed Russian proposal or Ukraine's response. The two sides have held sporadic negotiations since the Kremlin launched its full-scale offensive on February 24, but have so far failed to reach a diplomatic solution.

"They really hoped they would get us to sign such an agreement, so that we would become neutral. It was the biggest issue for them. They were ready to end the war if we took — as Finland did — neutrality and made commitments to not join NATO. In fact, this was their key point," Arakhamia said in an interview.

As to why Ukraine rebuffed the Russian proposal, Arakhamia said accepting the deal would have required altering the country's constitution, which sets future NATO membership as a priority. He added that even floating such constitutional changes would have been perceived as capitulating to Moscow's demands under duress amid the ongoing war.

“There was no trust in the Russians that they would [end the war]. This could only be done if there were security guarantees. We couldn't sign something, move away, everyone would exhale, and then they [the Russians] would come in more prepared — because they came in, in fact, unprepared for such resistance. Therefore, we could only go forward when there is one hundred percent confidence that it will not happen again a second time. And there is no such confidence.”

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