NYT Documents: Putin Was Willing To Compromise To End War In 2022

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - 01:40 AM

Authored by Kyle Anzalone via,

In April 2022, Ukraine and Russia were on the brink of signing a deal to end the war just weeks after it began. The New York Times published documents showing President Vladimir Putin was willing to make concessions to get an agreement signed.

According to the documents, Putin initially sought to have Kiev recognize Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. However, a draft agreement from April 15, 2022, suggests both parties were prepared to set aside the issue to end the conflict. "Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Articles 4, 5, and 11 of this Treaty shall not apply to Crimea and Sevastopol," the document says.

Swiss peace summit this past weekend, AFP

In December, Ukrainian negotiator Oleksandr Chalyi explained that an agreement was reached in the spring of 2022, stating the two sides "managed to find a very real compromise. We were very close in the middle of April, in the end of April, to finalize our war with some peaceful settlement."

Kiev was also willing to accept neutrality with regards to NATO, according to the NYT. Ukraine’s negotiation team proposed a peace deal that would say the country "does not join any military alliances" and "does not deploy foreign military bases and contingents."

The draft deal would have allowed Kiev to sign bilateral agreements with NATO states, as well as become a member of the European Union, but would have required Ukraine’s security partners to lift sanctions on Russia.

The Kremlin also sought to protect the rights of millions of Russian speakers living in Ukraine by forcing Kiev to repeal restrictions on the Russian language, and to bar the state from erecting monuments glorifying neo-Nazis and WWII-era Nazi collaborators.

As the talks were ongoing, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was pushed by his Western backers to forgo diplomacy and attempt to forcibly expel Russian troops from his country. Then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an infamous trip to Kiev to pressure Zelensky to abandon any peace negotiations, while Washington repeatedly vowed to supply unlimited military aid.

The NYT report added details about US pressure on Ukraine to ditch the talks. According to a senior American official familiar with the negotiations, Washington “quietly said, ‘You understand this is unilateral disarmament, right?’

Additionally, the NYT noted that Polish leaders believed the French and German governments might have endorsed the peace agreement and pushed Ukraine to accept it. During a meeting in late March 2022, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda pressured other NATO leaders not to allow Ukraine to sign the Russian proposal.

Independent journalist Michael Tracey provides some further nuance in the following:

Some US officials cautioned Ukraine not to trust Russia and warned the talks were merely a military ploy. However, two out of three Ukrainian negotiators who spoke with the NYT believed the Russian proposal was genuine, and one explained Putin had "reduced his demands" over the course of the discussions.

Ultimately, decision-makers in Kiev listened to their supporters in Warsaw, London, and Washington and elected to break off the negotiations. More than two years later, the conflict drags on, with Russian forces steadily advancing on major Ukrainian cities despite renewed Western military aid.

On Friday, the Russian president extended a public peace offer to Ukraine that is similar to the one nearly agreed to in 2022. However, along with Kiev agreeing never to join NATO and the West lifting sanctions on Russia, the Kremlin is now demanding that Ukraine recognize Moscow’s sovereignty over Crimea and four other Ukrainian oblasts that have been annexed by Russia throughout the two-and-a-half-year-long war.