Ukraine negotiations news

IssueFebruary - March 2023
News by PN staff

The mainstream media continues to suppress unwelcome but crucial facts about Ukraine’s recent peace positions, and to distort Russia’s current position.

It goes without saying that the Russian invasion a year ago was a criminal act and that Russia has committed and continues to commit a host of war crimes. However, it does not help us to find a way out of this disaster if we distort the facts.

Lawrence Freedman is perhaps the most respected foreign policy academic in Britain. He wrote about the possibilities of a negotiated end to the war in the Financial Times on 13 January.

Freedman stated that Russian president Vladimir Putin ‘is not seeking a negotiated settlement’, and this has ‘take[n] the pressure off Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to seek a deal’.

Freedman was too polite to mention that Zelenskyy signed a decree on 4 October that banned negotiating with Russia while Putin is president.


Freedman also failed to mention that, on 29 March 2002, Zelenskyy put forward a possible way out of the war – that Putin himself has referred to positively – which did not give up any land to Russia. The proposal kicked the issues of the Donbass, in Eastern Ukraine, and Crimea into the long grass, as matters to be negotiated separately.

The core of the proposal, the Istanbul Ten-Point Plan, was that Ukraine would commit to being a neutral state, without foreign troops or foreign bases on its territory, in other words not joining NATO either formally or informally. Ukraine’s security would be guaranteed by a number of states, who would commit to intervening militarily if Ukraine was attacked.

In return, Russia would withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory.

It was Ukraine that withdrew this proposal – after the then British prime minister Boris Johnson visited Ukraine to lobby against peace (see PN 2661).

In his FT article, Freedman wrote: ‘Putin insists that a precondition for negotiations is accepting the four claimed provinces [in the Donbass] as “forever Russia”... there is evidently no way forward on the diplomatic front’.

This is untrue. Russia has not put forward any preconditions for negotiations.

It is, unfortunately, Ukraine that has put forward preconditions for negotiation, including the replacement of Putin as Russian president (the 4 October decree) and the prosecution of Russian leaders for invading Ukraine.

That is one of the elements of Zelenskyy’s new Ten-Point Peace Plan, which also says that the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity (including Crimea) is not up for negotiation.

Zelenskyy said in November: ‘If Russia opposes our peace formula, you will see that it only wants war.’

Zelenskyy is calling for a bogus Global Peace Summit, based on his new Ten-Point Plan, which is not about negotiating an end to the war, but about supporting Ukraine’s war effort.

We reported last issue that US general Mark Milley, waged a campaign last year for Ukraine to open peace negotiations with Russia (PN 2663).

On 20 January, Milley again said that the war probably end with negotiations: ‘Sooner or later, this is going to have to get to a negotiating table at some point in order to bring this to a conclusion.’

Topics: Russia, Ukraine