2022 Russia–Ukraine peace negotiations
Parts of this article (those related to The April 2022 section and follow-on material) need to be updated. (May 2022)
Peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine after the former's invasion of the latter on 24 February 2022 took place on 28 February, 3 March, and 7 March 2022, on the Belarus–Ukraine border, in an undisclosed location in the Gomel region of Belarus, with further talks held on 10 March in Turkey prior to a fourth round of negotiations which began on 14 March.
On 24 February 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in eastern Ukraine. Soon after, Russian forces crossed into the Ukrainian border and began to fight against Ukrainian troops.
During a conversation between Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko on 27 February, it was agreed that a Ukrainian delegation would meet with Russia on the Belarusian border, near the Priypat River, without preconditions. It was reported that Lukashenko assured Zelenskyy that all planes, helicopters, and missiles on Belarusian territory would remain on the ground during the negotiations.
By 16 March, Mykhailo Podoliak was assigned as the chief negotiator for the Ukrainian peace delegation, who indicated that peace negotiations of a 15-point plan would involve the retraction of Russian forces from their advanced positions in Ukraine, along with international guarantees for military support and alliance in case of renewed Russian military action, in return for Ukraine not pursuing further affiliation with NATO.
First round (28 February)
The first round of talks began on 28 February, near the Belarusian border. The Ukrainian president's office said that the main goals were to call for an immediate ceasefire, and for Russian troops to be withdrawn from Ukraine. It concluded with no immediate agreements.
Second round (3 March)
On 3 March, the second round of peace talks began. Both sides agreed to open humanitarian corridors for evacuating civilians. Russia's demands were Ukraine's recognition of Russian-occupied Crimea, independence for separatist-controlled Luhansk and Donetsk, and "de-militarisation" and "de-Nazification". Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that while his country was ready for talks to resume, Russia's demands had not changed.
It was reported on 28 March that three members of the Ukrainian negotiating team, including Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian politician Rustem Umerov, were suffering from suspected poisoning. According to the independent newspaper Meduza, prior to the alleged poisoning, Umerov was accused by the Kremlin and Russian state-controlled media of being an American spy, and that he was deliberately prolonging the negotiations to Ukraine's advantage. Umerov later wrote on Facebook that he was "fine", calling for people to not trust "unverified information".
Third round (7 March)
A third round of negotiations began on 7 March, amidst ongoing fighting and bombing. Although a deal had not been reached yet, Ukrainian negotiator and advisor to the president Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted that "there were some small positive shifts regarding logistics of humanitarian corridors." However, the day before, a Ukrainian negotiator was shot amid claims of spying for Russia.
Antalya Diplomacy Forum (10 March)
On 10 March, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met for talks in Antalya, Turkey with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as mediator, in the first high-level contact between the two sides since the beginning of the invasion. Ukraine had attempted to negotiate a 24-hour ceasefire to provide aid and evacuation to civilians, especially in Mariupol. After two hours of talks, no agreement was reached. Airstrikes on the port city continued.
Fourth round (14–17 March)
A fourth round of negotiations began on 14 March via video conference. The talks lasted a few hours and ended without a breakthrough. The two sides resumed talks on 15 March, after which Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the talks as beginning to "sound more realistic".
The two sides again resumed talks on 16 March. Later that day, the Financial Times reported that a 15-point plan, first discussed on 14 March, negotiated with the Russians was being identified by Zelenskyy as more realistic for ending the war. After the fourth day of talks on 17 March, Russia said an agreement has not been reached. Following the talks, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that Russia was only "pretending to negotiate", in line with a strategy it has used elsewhere.
On 20 March Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, mediator of the talks, described them as "making progress". Referring to his role as "an honest mediator and facilitator", he gave little further detail.
Following his address to the Israeli parliament, Zelenskyy said that Israel was also trying to encourage peace talks.
Fifth round (21 March)
The fifth round of talks, on 21 March, failed to achieve a breakthrough. Zelenskyy called for direct talks with Putin to end the war. Sergey Lavrov said direct talks between the two presidents would only go ahead once both sides are closer to reaching a settlement.
Renewal of peace talks: 29–30 March
On 28 March, Zelenskyy confirmed that a renewal of peace talk negotiations with Russia would start in Istanbul on 29 March, with the intention of discussing Ukrainian neutrality, along with the repudiation of any claims for Ukrainian NATO membership in the future. On 29 March, Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, indicated in agreement with French minister Le Drian that any Russian offers of peaceful negotiation about Ukraine, or withdrawal from Kyiv, should be regarded with diplomatic skepticism, based on a history of Russian unreliability in similar peace negotiations with other countries.
On 7 April 2022, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the peace deal Ukraine drafted and presented to the Russian government contained "unacceptable" elements. Lavrov said that the proposal diverged from the terms negotiators had agreed on. Mykhaylo Podolyak, a negotiator for Ukraine, said that the comments from Lavrov are a tactic to draw attention away from the war crime accusations against Russian forces. Lastly, Lavrov stated, "Despite all the provocations, the Russian delegation will continue with the negotiation process, pressing for our own draft agreement that clearly and fully outlines our initial and key positions and requirements."
On 11 April, the Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer, visited and spoke with Putin in Moscow in 'very direct, open and hard' talks which were skeptical of the short term peaceful resolution of the invasion. By 26 April, the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres visited Russia for the purpose of speaking with Putin and Lavrov in separate meetings, and after the meetings with them indicating skepticism as to any short term resolution of differences between Russia and Ukraine largely due to very different respective perspectives on the circumstances of the invasion presently being adopted by each of the two nations.
At the start of May, Lavrov clarified Russia's position on de-Nazification of Ukraine by stating his belief that Hitler was of Jewish extraction and that this influences Ukrainian opposition to Russian occupation of Ukraine; the claim was met with disdain by Israel's government officials. On 5 May, Putin retracted and apologized to Israel's prime minister for Lavrov's comment, who accepted the apology during discussions with Putin about Ukraine. Peace talks and stability of international borders were further discussed in the Ukrainian parliament during the week of 9 May. In the same week both Sweden and Finland for application to become full members of NATO.
On 13 May, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin initiated a telephone conversation with Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, the first call since 18 February, before the invasion. The call lasted about an hour with Austin urging an immediate ceasefire.
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