Dave DeCamp Foreign Policy nato Russia-Ukraine

Report: Russia, Ukraine Tentatively Agreed on Peace Deal in April

Boris Johnson arrived in Kyiv not long after the talks and told Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia, saying the West wasn't ready to sign a deal.
Volodymyr Zelensky with Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street in 2020. President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

Russian and Ukrainian officials tentatively agreed on a potential peace deal during negotiations back in April 2022, according to a Foreign Affairs article by Fiona Hill and Angela Stent that cited former US officials.

The article reads: “According to multiple former senior US officials we spoke with, in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement.”

The terms of that settlement would have been for Russia to withdraw to the positions it held before launching the invasion on February 24. In exchange, Ukraine would “promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

The tentative deal was the result of in-person peace talks Russian and Ukrainian officials held in Istanbul at the end of March. Virtual talks resumed after the meeting in Istanbul, but the two sides ultimately failed to reach a deal.

A major factor in the failed negotiated settlement was pressure from the West. According to a report from Ukrainska Pravda, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to stop negotiating with Russia when he visited Kyiv on April 9.

According to the report, Johnson told Zelensky that even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, Kyiv’s Western backers are not. The report said that Russia was ready for a meeting between Putin and Zelensky on the potential peace deal, but it became less likely after Johnson’s visit.

Johnson appeared to confirm the Ukrainska Pravda report when he told French President Emmanuel Macron in May that he “urged” Ukraine not to negotiate during his visit to Kyiv. The British leader, who is due to step down in September, visited Kyiv one last time as prime minister in August and again told the Ukrainians not to negotiate with Russia.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, the other factor that scuttled peace talks was the discovery of massacred civilians in Bucha and other areas near Kyiv that Russia withdrew from around the time negotiations were being held.

Russia announced after the Istanbul talks at the end of March that it was “drastically” reducing military operations around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. When Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin announced the plan he said Russia expected “relevant key decisions will be taken in Kyiv and the conditions for further normal work will be created.”

The announcement was followed by a withdrawal from the north that was completed in early April. The US and its Western allies viewed the Russian withdrawal from the north as a retreat and saw it as an opportunity to increase support for Ukraine and hurt Russia. Toward the end of April, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv, and after the trip, he said that Washington’s goal in the war was to “weaken” Russia. In May, President Biden signed the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill into law.

Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

21 comments

  1. PEACE? NEVER!

    Of course America’s shaggy little British lap dog urged no negotiations. Anything anyone Russian says is a lie and Russia is always wrong because U.S. officials say so.

    Therefore negotiations are impossible. Remember that useful old Vatican decree: “Error has no rights.”

    And how else could the MIC, that central star of the econ system, continue to be profitable?!

    1. The outlines of a tentative deal, as referred to in Foreign Affairs, may well be true.What the article studiously avoids to mention however is a report that it was in fact Mr. Putin himself who declined said deal. If only because it made him look foolish and sent him away emptyhanded.

      The rest of the article sounds like a lot of unsubstantiated speculation and hearsay, written down by an author determined to somehow paint the West as the villain notwithstanding Russia’s war of aggression against the Ukraine, no matter what the facts.

      Starting with the allegation that it somehow was the West that compelled Ukraine to continue a war it could stop with the stroke of a pen and enjoy the comradely good fellowship of its benevolent neighbour Russia. With Mr. Boris Johnson’s so-called ‘urging’ suddenly carried an awful lot of weight in the Ukraine. Not a likely story now, is it?

      The article seems to forget that the only reason for ‘drastically reducing military operations around Kiev’ was that Russia had its arse kicked in no uncertain ways. Its air assault on Antonov airport north of Kiev had been chewed up, its tanks had been mincemeated because of Western anti-tank missiles, its logistics and resupply lines were strung out across many miles of roads that offered no cover but turned everything on them into excellent targeting opportunities (since those roads could not be bypassed due to terrain conditions).
      Look boys, you don’t sacrifice a full regiment of elite paratroopers in a suicide acctack on an airfiled just to ‘bind forces’. No, you send those paratroopers in there because you expect Ukrainians to welcome them and effect a regime change. Only that outcome didn’t materialise.

      And yes, since Russia’s government revealed itself as a bandit regime, prepared to send its army to conquer more territory and impose a puppet regime on its neighbours, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable to wish to draw its fangs in order to make certain this doesn’t happen again. Not because of a sudden outbreak of enlightened respect on Russia’s part for all their neighbours’ sovereignty, but because someone changed the balance of local military power so that starting wars wouldn’t be in Russia’s interest anymore.

  2. The U. S. thrives on war, or rather its war materiel manufacturers do, paid by the working class, who then kick back to politicians who then make more war, ad infinitum.

  3. Not surprised. War is perfect money maker for US and UK. Plus a useful tool to distract society from other issues.

  4. I don’t understand why Ukraine would not accept this deal regardless of Johnson’s pressure. Ukraine would have retained the status quo which it had on Feb 24 and saved all the lives and destruction which have since been lost . Also, according to this deal, Russia would be leaving the Donbass to fend for itself. I don’t believe this was the deal – sounds very fishy to me.

      1. Well, “Russia will never voluntarily leave Donbas or Crimea”. There, fixed that for you.

        It will certainly leave if it’s kicked out, which seems to become a distinct possibility.

    1. Money, pure and simple – Money. United States money to be exact. Money stolen from American taxpayers.

  5. Authors speculations that it was ever a deal to end the war are totally unsubstantiated by facts.

    The western propaganda worked hard declaring Russian military and diplomatic defeat during negotiations in Turkey as of 03/29/2022. That was a lie.

    The leaked incomplete summary of discussed in Istanbul points is propagandized by west as Russian surrender.

    In fact the so called peace proposal was nothing but a version of old delusional, solely UKRAINIAN authored proposal dictated by US and was aimed at prolonging war as it was designed to fail.

    First of all the proposal was full of wishful thinking, total non starters, Russian red line crossings and blatant denial of reality on the ground. And secondly solved none of Russian concerns and any territorial disputes.

    There is no mention of Denazification in this solely UKRAINIAN authored proposal with no Russian input whatsoever.

    None of points of the proposal were result of any negotiated compromise between, clearly stated by Putin, Russian positions and negotiating positions of Ukrainian side.

    This entire proposal propagandized by the west was simply non-responsive, unilateral Ukrainian medial stunt dead on arrival in Moscow.

    Some points of Ukrainian proposal (and Russian counter responses).

    1. Russian offensive was to be scaled down. [Russia executed preplanned withdrawal after successful binding of AFU forces prevented from defending southern Ukraine, all that unrelated to negotiations. The 2.5 Million city of Kiev was never a target (not with 60k operational group in the area) All of that was deception to bind and block AFU and dismantling any strategic AFU offensive capability. Russia could agree to scaling down as she was going to do that anyway]

    2. NATO security guarantees for Russia from Ukrainian threat [ no deal, NATO was outed as untrustworthy on the side of Kiev regime]

    3. Western guarantee of no military blocs for Ukraine and non-nuclear Ukraine [NATO is not trustworthy partner rejected Russian proposal for pan-European security. Russian military bases in Ukraine and Demilitarization zones are more trustworthy solutions and guaranties .]

    4. Crimea, Donbass issues remained unresolved in the proposal that only endorsed further negotiation (up to 15 years] after Russian withdrawal to before February 24 lines. [ absolutely no deal as Donbas liberation was leading reason for the war and hence had to be resolved before war ends. ]

    Russians declaration of Donbas independence was a direct result of Kiev regime explicit rejection of Minsk agreements in 2021 and a threat of military intervention and hence is non negotiable. The reintegration of of Crimea to RF was fundamental RF national security issue and hence is off the table beyond negotiated Ukrainian commercial access to Crimean coast and monetary reparations to Ukraine infrastructure Putin offered in 2015].

    There was never any reasonable deal. It was delusional propaganda on Ukrainian and ultimately US puppet master part that want bloody war. And got one.

    1. The only way Russia could possibly reject the deal the Ukraine offered (if it was offered) and reverse its illegal military incursion into Ukrainian sovereign territory would be if Russia were determined to subjugate, annex, and browbeat the entire influence sphere of the former USSR.

      Only then could Russia (or someone who supports their aims) take the view that NATO is somehow ‘untrustworthy’, that Russian military bases in the Ukraine could be there for any other purpose than to hold the Ukraine hostage.

      As to Donbas, that still is Ukrainian sovereign territory. Seperatists could (and should) have made their case throug the ballot box. Instead they started an armed insurrection. Well, pardon me for believing that insurrection should be put down and lawful order restored before any further discussions are entered into.

  6. What more evidence do you need that this is a proxy war on the behalf of America ,at the expense of Ukrainians and the safety of Europe ,
    It’s as if their agenda is to provoke WWIII and blame it on Russia ,at the same time america itself is falling apart and the debt unpaybackable . They just got out of Afghanistan with their tail between their legs,
    The world is rushing headlong into its darkest phase on all fronts ,global warming ,famine and war,and I see no light beyond .

    1. What more evidence could you possibly want besides Russia launching a brutal war of bestial aggression against the peaceloving Ukrainian people?

      The only parties in the world to actually help the Ukraine withstand this onslaught are the US, the UK, and NATO, who provide aid at great expense (15 bln. dollars plus for the US alone). Yet somehow you seem to be inclined to actually blame the West?

      What kind of evidence could possibly change your point of view? Tell us please.

  7. never any “deal”—ludicrous nonsense…kalen summary accurate—without formal territorial concessions, formal neutrality Ukraine will soon be a tiny feudal US colony—in the next 6 months they risk permanently losing all of the Black Sea another 100,000 troops….until a military junta deposes Zelensky and he flees to one of his Italian villas ukraine will diminish in size; already they have lost the most productive industrialized resource rich regions

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: