Western officials develop peace agreement for Ukraine, but there's something wrong with it

The West develops peace agreement on Ukraine. What is wrong with it?


Western countries are working on "grand bargains" to resolve the Ukrainian conflict, but the terms of those agreements would not meet either Russian or Ukrainian demands, The Wall Street Journal said.

"Some Western officials are sketching out grand bargains to end the war, but they fit neither Kyiv's nor Moscow's goals," The WSJ said.

Controversial agreements

Russia insists Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions should be recognised as part of its territories based on the will of the citizens of those regions. In turn, Ukraine wants it territorial integrity restored.

The "restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity" scenario appears to be a matter of remote future, The WSJ said. Kyiv will not be able to implement this plan due to the limited support from Western partners, the article also said, as Kyiv's key allies — Germany and the United States — want to avoid unnecessary risks and costs.

The newspaper also wrote about the confusion in issues of Western objectives in relation to Ukraine. The WSJ makes references to a plan whereby Kyiv would cede the above-mentioned territories in order to obtain NATO membership and preserve the remaining territories. A high-ranking representative of the alliance publicly spoke about this plan. However, NATO officials later apologised for those words and said that it was up to Ukraine to determine acceptable peace conditions.

However, many Western officials do not think that the United States and its allies could leave Kyiv to decide on the outcome of the conflict, the US-based publication said.

They fear that Ukraine's maximalist goals could make the war run endlessly. They would like Ukraine to accept the actual loss of some territories, in exchange, for example, NATO or EU membership or long-term military and economic assistance, The WSJ said.

Failed peace deal attempt

Russia attempted to hold peace talks with Kyiv almost immediately after the start of the special military operation. In early February, Russia launched negotiations at the request of the Ukrainian side. They lasted until mid-April. Two full-time rounds were held in Belarus, and one in Turkey. The parties would hold video sessions almost every day too.

The Russian side was raising the following issues during the talks:

  • Ukraine's neutral, non-bloc and non-nuclear status,
  • new territorial realities,
  • Kyiv's obligations to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine,
  • non-discrimination of the Russian-speaking population and national minorities,
  • restoration of the official status of the Russian language.

As part of that agreement, Russia was ready to provide security guarantees to Ukraine. As many as 20 draft agreements were prepared, but the version sent to Ukraine on April 15 remained unanswered.

Russia ready for negotiations

Russia has repeatedly stressed its readiness for a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian conflict.

"Russia is open to the political and diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. However, it was not Russia that terminated the peace talks back in April 2022. The future of the peace process depends solely on the readiness for a serious conversation with the new geopolitical realities accounted for. Unfortunately, ultimatum demands addressed to Russia speak about isolation from such realities and disinterest in finding a way out of the current situation," Russian President Putin wrote on March 19 in his article for People's Daily, a Chinese publication.

For the time being, Moscow sees no prospect for resolving the situation.

Ukraine's stance on peace talks

It appears that Ukraine does not mind talking to Russia either, but Kyiv's conditions for peace talks do not suit Moscow. On July 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, said that Ukraine would be ready for dialogue with the Russian Federation only if Ukrainian forces reached "the 1991 borders."

Prior to that, in October 2022, Zelensky signed a decree to exclude negotiations with Russian President Putin. The decree consolidated the decisions of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine from September 30.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov