Head of Ukraine's leading party claims Russia proposed "peace" in exchange for neutrality

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Davyd Arakhamiia, leader of the Servant of the People faction who led the Ukrainian delegation at "peace" talks with the Russians in Belarus and Türkiye in 2022, said that the Russian delegation promised Kyiv peace in exchange for refusing to join NATO, but the Ukrainians did not believe them.

Source: Davyd Arakhamiia in an interview with Nataliia Moseichuk

Details: Journalist Moseichuk noted that at a meeting with an African delegation, Vladimir Putin showed a supposedly ready-made draft peace agreement with Ukraine agreed during the negotiations in Belarus, which was allegedly initiated in Istanbul (Türkiye).

According to Putin, there were 18 articles in the so-called agreement On the Permanent Neutrality of Ukraine and Security Guarantees, where "everything is spelled out, from military equipment to personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," and allegedly the document was signed by the head of the Ukrainian delegation.

Arakhamiia stressed: "For some reason, Putin did not publish this document. Why do you think? If he had such a document, he would have made it public."

Quote: "They really hoped almost to the last moment that they would force us to sign such an agreement so that we would take neutrality. It was the most important thing for them. They were prepared to end the war if we agreed to, – as Finland once did, – neutrality, and committed that we would not join NATO.

In fact, this was the key point. Everything else was simply rhetoric and political ‘seasoning’ about denazification, the Russian-speaking population and blah-blah-blah."

When asked why Ukraine did not agree to this point, Arakhamia replied that there was no confidence in the Russians, because they were ready to promise anything.

Quote: "First, in order to agree to this point, it is necessary to change the Constitution. Our path to NATO is written in the Constitution.

Secondly, there was no confidence in the Russians that they would do it. This could only be done if there were security guarantees. We could not sign something, step away, everyone would relax there, and then they would [invade] even more prepared – because they have, in fact, gone in unprepared for such a resistance. Therefore, we could only explore this route when there is absolute certainty that this will not happen again. There is no such certainty.

Moreover, when we returned from Istanbul, Boris Johnson came to Kyiv and said that we would not sign anything with them at all, and let's just fight."

Details: At the same time, Arakhamiia denied that the Ukrainian delegation was ready to sign such a document, and that Johnson forced Kyiv’s hand.

According to Arakhamiia, the delegation did not even have the legal right to sign anything – this could only theoretically happen at a meeting of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin.

Arakhamiia added that Western partners knew about the negotiations and saw drafts of documents, but did not attempt to make a decision for Ukraine, but rather gave advice.

"They actually advised us not to go into ephemeral security guarantees [with the Russians – ed.], which could not have been given at that time at all," said Arakhamiia, who headed the negotiating delegation.

In his opinion, the delegation achieved the priority tasks "by 8 points out of 10," because the Russians still "left" (retreated from Kyiv), and then everything turned into a purely military direction.

Arakhamiia admitted that there was a moment when he believed in the possibility of encirclement of the capital.

Background: After Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine tried to negotiate peace. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeatedly called on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to discuss all pressing issues during a personal meeting, which Putin ignored. In the end, Zelenskyy stated that Putin's statements about wanting peace were not sincere, and approved the decision of the National Security Council on the impossibility of conducting negotiations with him.

Read more on the topic: From Zelenskyy's "surrender" to Putin's surrender: how the negotiations with Russia are going

Read more on the topic: Before and after the counteroffensive: Are there perspectives in peace negotiations with Russia?

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