The West wanted Zelensky to make concessions to Russia in early days of conflict

The West wanted Zelensky and Putin to meet in one room, but the plan failed

The West put pressure on Ukraine to make it accept Russia's terms in peace negotiations at the very beginning of the special military operation in 2022, Simon Shuster wrote in his book about Ukrainian President Zelensky.

In the spring of 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators agreed that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky could be the only way to find a solution to the crisis. The Ukrainian delegation even prepared the agenda for their summit in April and May. Kyiv's Western allies demanded the Ukrainian president should make additional concessions when talking to Putin, Shuster wrote in his book titled "Showman."

The West wanted Kyiv to accept Russia's terms

According to Shuster, the West was putting pressure on Ukraine. Western leaders wanted Kyiv to accept Moscow's terms. After the first round of negotiations at the end of February 2022, Ukraine was ready to abandon plans to join NATO to thus accept the "permanent neutrality” status, Shuster wrote.

The step that the Kyiv authorities were ready to take as per Russia's demands was contradicting the Constitution of Ukraine. On February 19, 2019, President Petro Poroshenko (Ukraine's fifth President) signed a law to amend the Constitution of Ukraine and establishe its course towards EU and NATO memberships.

However, Kyiv was ready to abandon plans to join military alliances in exchange for security guarantees from not only the United States and the European Union, but also from countries such as China, Israel and, accordingly, Russia.

On March 29, 2022, during the talks in Istanbul, the Ukrainian side also presented its version of resolving the situation in Crimea and Donbass. Kyiv proposed taking a break of 15 years in resolving misunderstandings on the Crimean Peninsula and pledged not to use force. The question of the status of the DPR and LPR was left "at the discretion of the leaders of the warring parties.” At the same time, Moscow claimed that it was only Putin who could resolve territorial disputes.

Russian negotiators agreed that the only way to break the impasse was to get Putin and Zelensky to talk to each other in one room, Shuster wrote.

Bucha massacre ruined peace plans

Ukraine's determination to compromise with Russia vanished after the bloodbath in the city of Bucha. Ukraine and Russia interpret the Bucha massacre completely differently. David Arakhamia, the head of the Ukrainian delegation, said that Kyiv wanted to leave the negotiating table after what happened in Bucha.

Ukrainian officials demanded Zelensky should refuse from having a personal meeting with Putin. Zelensky did not shut down the talks completely: he curtailed negotiations through military channels and suspended communication via legal and diplomatic ties. However, by September 2022, Ukraine and Russia had only one channel left — the channel for discussing the exchange of prisoners of war.

Putin signals readiness to discuss Ukraine security 

Putin is sending signals to the US via unofficial channels signalling his readiness to discuss security measures for Ukraine, Bloomberg said citing sources in Russia.

Allegedly, Putin is ready to consider abandoning his demand for Ukraine's neutral status and non-entry into NATO. At the same time, the Russian leader insists on recognising Russia's control over the new territories.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov