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No deal: the WSJ has learned what conditions the Kremlin set for Ukraine to end the war in 2022

The WSJ has learned what the Kremlin offered Ukraine to end the war

The head of the aggressor country, Russia, Vladimir Putin, has publicly hinted at his alleged openness to discussing the end of the war in Ukraine on his terms. This is likely to be an agreement hinted at in the draft peace treaty drawn up by Russian and Ukrainian delegations in the spring of 2022.

The Wall Street Journal drew attention to this. The journalists analyzed a document dated April 15, 2022, which describes how negotiators on both sides sought to end hostilities in Istanbul.

"By agreeing to turn Ukraine into a 'permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs,' prohibiting it from rebuilding its armed forces with Western support and leaving Crimea under Russia's de facto control," the report says.

The alleged draft agreement stated that Ukraine, despite the possibility of joining the European Union, would not be allowed to join military alliances, including NATO; foreign weapons would not be allowed on Ukrainian soil; and the Armed Forces would be reduced to a certain size. In other words, Russia sought to limit everything from the number of troops and tanks to the maximum range of Ukrainian missiles.

According to the Russians, Crimea, already occupied by Russia, should remain under Moscow's influence and not be considered neutral. The Kremlin also insisted that the Russian language be used on an equal footing with Ukrainian in the government and courts. None of this was supported by Kyiv.

No deal: the WSJ has learned what conditions the Kremlin set for Ukraine to end the war in 2022

The question of the future of the districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied by Russia in 2014 was not included in the draft. It was allegedly left "at the discretion of Putin and Zelenskyi" during personal negotiations, which the Kremlin wanted.

In addition, the Russian dictator's preferred draft treaty provided for a ban on foreign weapons, "including missile weapons of any type, armed forces and formations." Moscow wanted the Armed Forces to have 85,000 troops, 342 tanks, and 519 artillery pieces. Ukrainian negotiators wanted 250,000 troops, 800 tanks, and 1,900 artillery pieces. Russia also demanded that the range of Ukrainian missiles be limited to 40 kilometers.

No deal: the WSJ has learned what conditions the Kremlin set for Ukraine to end the war in 2022

In the end, the parties failed to reach an agreement. After those talks, the scale of Russia's war crimes against Ukraine became even more apparent and the whole world started talking about them, Ukraine's military situation improved, and the West began supplying weapons to support Kyiv.

In December, The New York Times reported that Putin was sending "signals" to the West that he wanted to freeze the war against Ukraine and start negotiations. The article, citing two former Kremlin officials close to the Kremlin, as well as American and international officials, said that the dictator was proposing to freeze hostilities on the then-front lines. Although Putin had sent the same signals a year earlier, in the fall of 2022.

Today, Ukraine has made its position clear: no hint of negotiations with the aggressor until Russia withdraws its troops from the country. Two years of war have embittered Ukrainian public opinion against any peace deal, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyi warned that any cessation of hostilities would simply allow Russia to rearm and better attack Ukraine in the future. He responded sharply to "negotiations with Putin," noting that the question of ending the war lies in the "legal and political plane."

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