Head of Ukrainian delegation at spring 2022 peace talks reports Russian delegation offered to end war if Ukraine abandoned NATO aspirations, says leaders had ’no trust’ Russia would follow through
Davyd Arakhamia, leader of the Servant of the People faction in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), who headed the Ukrainian delegation in spring 2022 negotiations with Russia, said that at the time, the Russian delegation had offered to end the war if Ukraine relinquished its aspirations to join NATO.
Asked why Ukrainian representatives did not accept this offer, Arakhamia said it would have required changing the Ukrainian Constitution, which stipulates Ukraine's intention to become a NATO member. Moreover, there was “no trust” from Ukrainian authorities that the Russian side would follow through.
“This could only be done if there were security guarantees,” said Arakhamia in an interview with 1+1 host Nataliia Moseichuk. “We couldn’t just sign something, step back, [have] everyone breathe a sigh of relief, and then [have Russia] come in more prepared — because they [invaded], in fact, unprepared for such resistance. Therefore, we could only work when there was a hundred percent certainty that it wouldn’t happen a second time. And there is no such certainty.”
Arakhamia added that Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister at the time, arrived in Kyiv shortly after the delegation had returned from negotiations and encouraged Ukraine to keep fighting.
Russia and Ukraine held peace negotiations at the beginning of the full-scale war. Several rounds of negotiations took place in Belarus and Turkey. After Russian troops retreated from Kyiv, the negotiations were frozen.
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