Kremlin says 2022 draft document could be starting point for Ukraine peace talks

The Kremlin has said that a draft Russia-Ukraine agreement negotiated in 2022 could serve as a starting point for prospective talks to end the fighting that has dragged into a third year.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the draft document, which was discussed in Istanbul in March 2022, could be “the basis for starting negotiations”.

At the same time, he noted that the possible future talks would need to take into account the “new realities”.

Russia Belarus
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow (Gavriil Grigorov/AP)

In September 2022, Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions in a move that Kyiv and its Western allies have rejected as an unlawful.

Mr Peskov’s statement on Friday followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments on Thursday, in which he mocked prospective Ukraine peace talks that Switzerland is set to host in June, warning that Moscow will not accept any enforced peace plans.

“We are ready for constructive work, but we wouldn’t accept any attempts to enforce a position that isn’t based on the realities,” Putin said during a meeting in Moscow with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, adding that the Istanbul draft document could serve as a basis for negotiations.

“We can work with it,” he said.

The document discussed in Istanbul weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 reportedly included provisions for Ukraine’s neutral status and put limits on its armed forces.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses a media conference at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania during the Three Seas Initiative Summit and Business Forum in Vilnius, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
Russia has dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace formula which would require Moscow to pull back its troops and pay compensation to Ukraine (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Russia has dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace formula which would require Moscow to pull back its troops, pay compensation to Ukraine and face an international tribunal for its action.

Putin has repeatedly said that he sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022 to protect Russian interests and prevent Ukraine from posing a major security threat to Russia by joining Nato.

Kyiv and its allies have denounced Russia’s military campaign as an unprovoked act of aggression.

Putin has vowed to extend Moscow’s gains in Ukraine, claiming that Russian forces have the upper hand after the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive and that Ukraine and the West will “sooner or later” have to accept a settlement on Moscow’s terms.

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