Russia offered Kyiv to end the war just weeks into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to a prominent Ukrainian politician.
However, in order for peace to return to the country, Ukraine was asked to abandon its NATO ambition and adopt a neutral stance, David Arahamiya, the leader of the Servant of the People party, claimed.
The politician, also known as David Braun, recalled the talks held in the early spring of 2022 during an interview with Ukrainian journalist Natalia Moseychuk.
He claimed: “They really hoped almost to the last that they would put the squeeze on us to sign such an agreement so that we would take neutrality. It was the biggest thing for them.
“They were ready to end the war if we took – as Finland once did – neutrality and made commitments that we would not join NATO. This was the key point.”
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Mr Arahamiya, who is a member of the same party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, noted Russia’s demand presented two major flaws.
First, bending to this request would have required Ukraine to change its constitution, which states the country’s intention to eventually join the Western military alliance.
Moreover, Mr Arahamiya claimed Russia was not offering enough security guarantees to Ukraine to assure it wouldn’t eventually try a second invasion if Kyiv agreed to ditch its NATO ambitions.
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As reported by the Kyiv Post, Mr Arakhamia added: “There is no, and there was no, trust in the Russians that they would do it. That could only be done if there were security guarantees.”
Russian negotiators, the politician believes, “came in unprepared” for the resistance put up by Ukraine.
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia took place in the early weeks of the invasion and were being brokered by Belarus and Turkey.
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Reports of a possible meeting between Mr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin were also reported at the time.
However, as Ukrainian troops managed to push back Moscow’s soldiers from Kyiv in early April and the horrors perpetrated by Russian soldiers in Bucha emerged, chances of talks got slimmer.
Then, Mr Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said it was “not the time” for a meeting between the two countries’ leaders.
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