The New York Times: Ukraine-Russia Peace Is as Elusive as Ever. But in 2022 They Were Talking.






With Russia and Ukraine locked in their third year of all-out war, there is no clear path to military victory for either side. Nor are there immediate prospects for a ceasefire and an eventual peace plan, with both sides sticking to irreconcilable positions.

Yet the issues that would need to be tackled in any future peace settlement are evident, and in fact were at the center of negotiations two years ago that explored peace terms in remarkable detail.

Documents reviewed by The New York Times shed light on the points of disagreement that would have to be overcome.

The documents emerged from negotiating sessions that took place in the weeks after the start of the war, from February to April of 2022. It was the only time that Ukrainian and Russian officials are known to have engaged in direct peace talks.

The talks failed as both sides dug in on the battlefield, but not before negotiators produced multiple drafts of a treaty that was supposed to guarantee Ukraine’s future security while fulfilling some of President Vladimir V. Putin’s demands.

Today, even with hundreds of thousands dead and wounded, Moscow and Kyiv appear further from peace than at any other time since the full-scale invasion. On Friday, Mr. Putin said Russia would agree to a ceasefire only if Ukraine handed over four regions the Kremlin has declared part of Russia and dropped its NATO aspirations. It was essentially a demand for capitulation, which the Ukrainian government immediately denounced.

Ukraine’s current demands — a withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukrainian territory — also appear unrealistic given Mr. Putin’s apparent resolve and his army’s current advantages. This includes the Crimean Peninsula, which Mr. Putin annexed in 2014 in a swift operation that he considers central to his legacy.

But at some point, both sides could return to the negotiating table again — a scenario that is expected to be discussed as Ukraine gathers scores of countries, though not Russia, for a peace conference in Switzerland this weekend. If and when Ukraine and Russia resume direct negotiations, the issues raised in the documents produced at the start of the war, including the status of occupied Ukrainian territories and Ukraine’s future security guarantees, would remain relevant…


(New York Times June 15, 2024)





March 17, 2022, treaty draft
An early draft of a Ukraine-Russia treaty. The document is an English translation that Ukraine provided to Western governments at the time.


17 March 2022 peace deal draft




March 29, 2022, Istanbul Communiqué
The proposed agreement that was discussed at in-person talks in Istanbul, as summarized by Ukrainian negotiators.


Istanbul communique




April 15, 2022, treaty draft
A later draft of a Ukraine-Russia treaty. The document’s header shows this was a version that landed on President Vladimir Putin’s desk. The map referred to as Annex 6 is not included.


15 April 2022 peace deal draft

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