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Ukraine-Russia full draft treaty of April 2022 published first time

The New York Times released the full draft of the peace treaty between Russia and Ukraine that concluded following several rounds of the February-April 2022 negotiations, but was never signed.

The papers emerged from talks that took place a few weeks after the war began, from February to April 2022. It was the only time Ukrainian and Russian officials participated in direct peace talks. The potential agreements at the time now show what would have to overcome for a resolution of the conflicts.

The negotiations eventually failed, but participants in the talks produced several drafts of a treaty that would guarantee Ukraine’s future security while fulfilling some of President Vladimir Putin’s demands.

As of now, Russia and Ukraine are now very far apart. Putin stated yesterday Russia would only agree to a ceasefire if Ukraine handed over four regions the Kremlin has declared part of Russia and gave up its aspirations to join NATO.

Ukraine’s current demands, entailing the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, also appear unfeasible in light of Vladimir Putin’s determination and the current advantages of the Russian armed forces. Despite, according to the president, if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine remained a “two-state conflict,” the parties would find a way to “fairly resolve any issues.”

Major points of the draft Russian-Ukrainian treaty

  • One of the points of the treaty was the Crimean peninsula, which by mid-April both sides had agreed to remove Crimea from their treaty, leaving it under Russian control but without recognising it as Ukraine.
  • The draft included limits on the size of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the number of tanks, artillery batteries, warships and combat aircraft the country could have in its arsenal. Russia also required the range of Ukrainian missiles to be limited to 25 miles, while Ukraine wanted 174 miles, which is enough to hit targets in Crimea.
  • Russia demanded that Ukraine make Russian an official language: “Ukraine, within 30 (thirty) days after signing this Treaty, shall remove all restrictions on the use of the Russian language in any area in accordance with Annex 2.”
  • The two sides clashed on issues such as arms levels and the terms of Ukraine’s potential membership in the European Union. Ukraine offered never to join NATO or other alliances, but it may join the European Union: “The Parties to this Treaty share the understanding that Ukraine’s status as a permanently neutral state is, subject to the provisions of this Treaty, compatible with Ukraine’s possible membership in the European Union.”
  • The demand illustrates one of Putin’s stated justifications for starting the war: “Ukraine recognises the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic within the administrative boundaries of the former Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine and, in this regard, shall introduce comprehensive changes to the national legislation.”

Putin’s position is no longer limited to two regions, according to yesterday’s statement: “The status of Crimea and Sevastopol, Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions as regions of the Russian Federation should be specified in international treaties.”

Two years on, but still no sign that Russia and Ukraine may return to the negotiating table. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will try to convince dignitaries from about 100 countries and organisations at the Swiss summit on 15-16 June that victory is still a reality. Among the countries absent are Russia and China, with Beijing saying both Russia and Ukraine should participate in any international peace conference of this kind.

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