Fiona Hill said that Russia was prepared to stop the offensive against Ukraine if Ukraine agreed to neutrality.
Top US diplomat has admitted that Russia and Ukraine might have come to a peaceful agreement in April.
The admission came this week from Fiona Hill, a veteran US diplomat who served as the US National Security Council’s senior director for Europe and Russia in the Donald Trump administration. In an article she wrote with Angela Stent from Georgetown University, the Foreign Affairs magazine stated that Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations in April were conducted in good faith by Russia.
“According to multiple former senior US officials we spoke with, in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement: Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbass region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries,”The article stated.
In a draft document, Ukraine proposed a peace-for neutrality agreement. This was delivered to Russia by the Ukrainian government during its March 29 negotiations in Istanbul. As a gesture to goodwill, the Russian military declared its withdrawal from certain parts of Ukraine immediately after receiving the offer.
The Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stated that Kiev had evidenced war crimes in areas abandoned by Russian forces, especially in Bucha. According to Zelensky, the Ukrainian public wouldn’t allow him negotiate with a country that he claimed was committed genocide.
Russia claimed that the evidence of war crime was faked and that Kiev used it as an excuse to abandon peace talks. It also believed that Kiev wanted to continue fighting for the Western Military Aid that would enable them to take victory on the battlefield. Russian diplomats claim that Moscow drafted a peace agreement on the basis of Ukrainian proposals, and then sent it to Kiev. However, they never received anything back.
Some Ukrainian media claims that Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, pushed Kiev to collapse the talks in May. UK’s leader took a strong stance against a solution for Ukraine’s crisis that could be negotiated and called on Kiev to continue fighting to gain a better position in the future negotiations.
On April 9, Johnson visited Kiev almost instantly and sent Zelensky an ultimatum that he would not be able to get the deal with Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper reports that he called Putin a war criminal and could not be trusted. “even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they [the West] are not.”Proposed peace deals included security assurances from world power for a neutral Ukraine.
Russian senior officials repeated their willingness to resolve the conflict. They also warned that ending talks would only make the situation worse for Ukraine. Kiev’s leadership insists that negotiations can only take place if Russia withdraws all its troops from the area, as well as Crimea which Moscow regards its territory.