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Foreign Affairs Promotes 2022 Ukraine-Russia Peace Draft as Basis for New Negotiations

April 17, 2024 (EIRNS)—Foreign Affairs, the magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, published a long article suggesting that the 2022 draft peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia could be the starting point for new negotiations among the parties. The message of that 2022 draft, the authors say, is that both Kyiv and Moscow were ready to make extraordinary concessions. The authors say they have interviewed players on Russia’s as well as on Ukraine’s side, examined unpublished records and documents so far only in Russian. “When we put all these pieces together, what we found is surprising—and could have significant implications for future diplomatic efforts to end the war.”

On explaining why the 2022 negotiations failed, however, they adopt the western narrative on key aspects: for instance, on the reason why Russia withdrew troops from Kyiv ("The Russians were losing the war") or on Boris Johnson’s role ("it suggests that Kyiv had no say in the matter").

Nevertheless, the conclusion is clear:

“On April 11, 2024, Lukashenko, the early middleman of the Russian-Ukrainian peace talks, called for a return to the draft treaty from spring 2022. ‘It’s a reasonable position,’ he said in a conversation with Putin in the Kremlin. ‘It was an acceptable position for Ukraine, too. They agreed to this position.’

“Putin chimed in. ‘They agreed, of course,’ he said.

“In reality, however, the Russians and the Ukrainians never arrived at a final compromise text. But they went further in that direction than has been previously understood, reaching an overarching framework for a possible agreement.

“After the past two years of carnage, all this may be so much water under the bridge. But it is a reminder that Putin and Zelenskyy were willing to consider extraordinary compromises to end the war. So if and when Kyiv and Moscow return to the negotiating table, they’ll find it littered with ideas that could yet prove useful in building a durable peace.”

The main obstacle to the final compromise, the authors argue, was the issue of security guarantees. By insisting that the U.S. not only should be part of the agreement (which Russia accepted), but that in case of a Russian attack, members of the agreement could unilaterally come in to Ukraine’s help, Kyiv was counting its chickens before they were hatched. The U.S. would never agree on that and made it clear.