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NYT publishes documents under discussion of Ukraine, Russia in spring of 2022

Earlier, Ukraine's negotiators told that the main task of the Ukrainian delegation was to delay the process. 

NYT publishes documents under discussion of Ukraine, Russia in spring of 2022
During negotiations in Turkey
Photo: Presidential office

The New York Times has published drafts of three documents discussed by Ukraine and Russia at the beginning of the great war, including a draft peace treaty of 17 March 2022 (the English translation that Ukraine provided to Western governments at the time, a communiqué following consultations in Istanbul on 29 March 2022, and a later draft treaty of 15 April 2022).

All these documents were not agreed upon and contain the positions of Ukraine and Russia. In particular, Russia initially demanded that Ukraine recognise Crimea as Russian territory, and later, by 15 April, both sides agreed to exclude Crimea from the treaty.

The first draft of 17 March was, in fact, an ultimatum to Russia and stipulated that Crimea would remain under Russian occupation, as well as the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. At the same time, Ukraine would have to secure its non-aligned status and not deploy foreign military bases and contingents on its territory, and lift all restrictions on the use of the Russian language. Our state also had to agree to reduce the limitations on the size of the armed forces and the number of weapons and commit not to develop missile weapons.

According to the NYT, the United States was alarmed by these conditions, in particular the requirement for unilateral disarmament, which would have left Ukraine defenceless. 

The newspaper also claims that Polish leaders feared that Germany or France might try to persuade Kyiv to accept Russia's terms and wanted to prevent this.

During the talks in Istanbul on 29 March, after Ukraine had made some progress on the battlefield, Russia relaxed some of its demands, the NYT notes. In general, Ukraine was to remain non-aligned, Crimea would be part of Russia for 10-15 years without Kyiv's attempts to regain it by force, and Ukraine and Russia were to negotiate other territories separately.

Ukraine also proposed to include security guarantees from the following states in the draft treaty: The United Kingdom, China, Russia, the United States, France, Turkey, Germany, Canada, Italy, Poland, and Israel. However, Russian negotiators refused.

The last round of negotiations took place on 15 April 2022, after Russian troops had withdrawn from the Kyiv Region and war crimes committed by the occupiers had been recorded. The draft discussed by the parties stated that Ukraine should become a "permanently neutral state that will not participate in military blocs" but could join the EU. Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions were to remain under Russia's de facto control. The guarantor countries would be the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

According to the NYT, Russia proposed a clause stating that all guarantor states, including Russia, should agree on a response in the event of an attack on Ukraine. In essence, Moscow proposed to give it the right to veto the guarantor states' assistance to Ukraine. A member of the Ukrainian negotiating team told the newspaper that after this change, "we are not interested in continuing the negotiations".

Earlier, Ukraine's negotiators told that the main task of the Ukrainian delegation was to stall for time. "We had to buy time for our partners in the West to come to their senses and start making decisions that we managed to survive," said one of them. "That's why we tried to engage the Russians in some discussions of details that they constantly had to coordinate with Moscow. 

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