Why Did the 2022 Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal Fail and Was Russia Backing Down?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Reading Time: 5 minutes


On March 12, during the program “New Paradigm” of the “Solidarity for Peace” movement, the guest, Guram Nikolaishvili, spoke about the Russia-Ukraine war. Nikolaishvili touched on the issue of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in the spring of 2022 in Turkey. According to him, Davit Arakhamia stated that the parties reached an agreement during these negotiations. Guram Nikolaishvili noted that this was an “excellent” agreement, Russia was ceasing hostilities, the parties discussed the issues of denazification and demilitarization, and only the final nuances were to be discussed, Russia also made concessions and withdrew its troops from the Kyiv region, while the Ukrainians “deceived” Russia and launched a counterattack, thereby the war continued. Nikolaishvili also hinted that Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister of Great Britain, could have been interested in such a development of events.

Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal

Guram Nikolaishvili repeats the propaganda narrative of the Kremlin. In the spring of 2022, the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine did not end with any kind of agreement. The agreement document, which The Wall Street Journal had access to, shows that the main problematic issue was the security guarantees for Ukraine. Russian troops left the Kyiv region as a result of Ukraine’s military success, not to promote the peace process.

Guram Nikolaishvili is, in fact, repeating the manipulative narrative voiced by Vladimir Putin in the summer of 2023. In June 2023, at the African Summit, Vladimir Putin presented African leaders with an agreement that Ukraine and Russia were working on during the 2022 negotiations. According to Putin, the agreement had 18 points, had a preliminary signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Davit Arakhamia, and included in detail various issues, including how many units of military armament and what manpower Ukraine would have.

Arakhamia commented on Putin’s statement during an interview in November 2023. Arakhamia notes that Russia hoped until the end that Ukraine would sign this agreement and agree to the condition of neutrality and refusal to join NATO, this was their main goal. Arakhamia also explains why Ukraine refused this agreement. He notes that, on the one hand, refusing to join NATO would require changing the Ukrainian constitution, besides, there was no trust in Russia, and it could only be accepted if there were security guarantees. According to Arakhamia, Ukraine could not sign the agreement and give Russia a chance to breathe, so that the next attack could be more prepared.

“We could work only if there was a hundred percent confidence that this [invasion of Ukraine] will not happen again. There is no such belief” – said Arakhamia.

Davit Arakhamia also notes that the Ukrainian delegation at the negotiations did not have the legal power to sign the agreement, and this agreement could only be signed during the meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin. According to him, if Putin had this document, he would have made it public, but he did not do it.

The claim that the peace treaty between Russia and Ukraine was nearly signed in 2022 was denied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba.

Kuleba: “There was no agreement. Starting a dialogue and making a commitment are two completely different things.”

After the start of the negotiations, Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak commented on the unfavorable conditions imposed by Russia on Ukraine and noted that the Russian delegation was not sent for negotiations, but to agree on Ukraine’s capitulation.

The document Putin was talking about has not been made public, but The Wall Street Journal had access to it. According to the document, dated April 15, 2022, Ukraine could continue to work towards joining the European Union, but would not join NATO or any other military alliance. It would also not have the right to deploy foreign-made weapons on its territory.

Russia wanted the composition of the Ukrainian army to be at most 85,000, to have 342 tanks and 519 artillery complexes, the Ukrainian side wanted the composition of the army to be 250,000, 800 tanks and 1,900 artillery complexes. As the WSJ writes, Ukraine refused to remove a section from the agreement, that stipulated the need for war crimes of the Russian side to be sent to the International Criminal Court. Also, Ukraine did not agree to the issue of sanctions cancellation. According to the agreement, the Crimean peninsula should have been under the influence of Russia, and the issue of the territories temporarily occupied by Russia in the east of Ukraine since 2014 was not spelled out in the agreement and should have been discussed in the event of a face-to-face meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin. The main problematic issue was – what would happen if Ukraine became the target of an attack again. Russia wanted all the guarantors, the US, Great Britain, China, and Russia, to respond in concert in the event of an attack on Ukraine, which is unlikely if the aggressor was Russia itself. Ukraine wanted the guarantor states to close the skies in case of an attack and also provide aid to Ukraine, which Russia did not agree to. Russia wanted to add Belarus to the guarantors, and Ukraine wanted to add Turkey. Negotiations continued online, but were completely stopped in the summer of 2022.

In a comment to the WSJ, Keir Giles, director of the Center for Conflict Studies, a British think tank, notes that such peace agreements leave Ukraine vulnerable to repeated Russian aggression in the future. According to Chatham House, since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the first invasion of Ukraine, Russia has violated more than 400 international agreements and conventions, and Moscow has also used the agreements signed by Russia with Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine for its own advantage, notes Giles.

Nikolaishvili’s comment that Russia withdrew its troops from the Kyiv region because of peace talks also echoes the Kremlin narrative. In parallel with the negotiations, the situation on the battlefield in the Kyiv region changed quite quickly in favor of Ukraine. The Ukrainian side notes, and the US confirms, that Russia was forced to retreat due to Ukraine’s military success in the Kyiv region.

After the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the Kyiv region, the extent of the brutality of the Russian army became clear on the example of Bucha, which to some extent affected Ukraine’s position in negotiations with Russia.

“In Istanbul, we still did not understand how Russia waged war, its genocidal goal. When we returned from Istanbul and the Russians left the Kyiv region, we saw the brutal crimes they committed and realized that no matter what happens, Russia will try to destroy Ukraine,” Mykhailo Podolyak said.

The main demand of Ukraine is the complete withdrawal of forces from the territories occupied by Russia after 2014 and to seek fair judgment for the representatives of the Russian side accused of war crimes.

Guram Nikolaishvili also pointed out the interest of the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in disrupting the Russia-Ukraine negotiations. Similar manipulative claims that the talks failed because of Boris Johnson’s position have been circulated in the past and were verified by Myth Detector. See more:

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Violation: Manipulation
Country: Russia, Ukraine

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