How Boris Johnson Sabotaged Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal

According to a 17-page paper never made public, revealed by the Wall Street Journal, Boris Johnson sabotaged a Russia-Ukraine peace deal.

How Boris Johnson Sabotaged Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal 1

The Wall Street claims to have obtained a classified document that provides information about a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine that was discussed in the early months of the conflict but ultimately fell through. Since then, several allegations have surfaced, including one from Foreign Affairs claiming that the UK attempted to destroy the agreement at the time.

Negotiators from both sides drew up a draft peace treaty in April 2022, which provides insight into Moscow’s goals and perspective at the time. The 17-page paper has never been made public, but on Friday the Wall Street Journal revealed important passages and details for the first time.

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The letter, dated April 15, 2022, purports to outline a deal that will make Ukraine a “permanently neutral state that doesn’t participate in military blocs.” It further stated that Crimea must continue to be governed by Russia and that Ukraine cannot strengthen its armed forces with assistance from the West.

How Boris Johnson Sabotaged Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal 2
Back when negotiations were taking place during the opening six weeks of the war, via AP

The WSJ analysis acknowledges that the Ukrainian side made some significant concessions, and it emphasizes that many of these concessions would probably be made again in any future agreement, in which Ukraine would undoubtedly be forced to make even more concessions given that Russia’s military might is currently overwhelming it’s own.

“The draft treaty states that Ukraine, while being allowed to pursue European Union membership, wouldn’t be allowed to join military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” according to the report. “No foreign weapons would be allowed on Ukrainian soil.”

Crucially, “Ukraine’s military would be pared down to a specific size.” Even the number of troops in the Ukrainian armed forces was to be permanently limited by the proposed agreement: “Russia sought to limit everything from the number of troops and tanks to the maximum firing range of Ukrainian missiles.”

The significance of the Russian language in Ukrainian society was a further important topic. While most people in the eastern part of the country, which includes the Donbas, speak Russian as their first language, about two-thirds of the population at least knows the language. According to reports, the goal of the document was to guarantee that Russians would have equal standing in Ukrainian government ministries and courts. Since the beginning of the war, the Zelensky administration has actively worked to restrict and even eradicate Russian in public life.

As per the WSJ’s more context regarding the draft deal:

The future of the area of eastern Ukraine covertly invaded and occupied by Russia in 2014, wasn’t included in the draft, leaving it up to Putin and Zelensky to complete in face-to-face talks. That meeting never took place.

The treaty was to be guaranteed by foreign powers, which are listed on the document as including the U.S., U.K, China, France and Russia. Those countries would be given the responsibility to defend Ukraine’s neutrality if the treaty were violated. But while the treaty held, guarantors would be required to “terminate international treaties and agreements incompatible with the permanent neutrality of Ukraine” including any promises of bilateral military aid. The international security guarantees wouldn’t apply to Crimea and Sevastopol.

By June of that year, negotiations had come to an end entirely, and months later, many rumors were suggesting that Zelensky had been urged by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to settle with Moscow.

As we approach the third year of this horrifying and tragic battle that has claimed a great number of lives,

Since then, Kiev and its war effort have received hundreds of billions in finance and weapons, and sadly, hundreds of thousands of people have probably died. If an early agreement had been made, maintained, and supported by outside forces, a great deal of death and destruction might have been avoided.

The Wall Street Journal provides the following details on troop constraints from the 17-page document:

Bloomberg on Thursday issued a report predicting total collapse of the Ukrainian front lines by summer, as the headline suggests (Ukraine Sees Risk of Russia Breaking Through Defenses by Summer): “Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russian advances could gain significant momentum by the summer unless their allies can increase the supply of ammunition, according to a person familiar with their analysis,” the report said. Will peace settlement talks begin at that point, or will the West intervene even more forcefully? 

But if an agreement for the end of the war is ever completed, Ukraine is now probably going to face more stringent limitations on any future Ukrainian state and military (provided Moscow and NATO don’t blunder into direct war before then).

As the headline, “Ukraine Sees Risk of Russia Breaking Through Defenses by Summer,” suggests, Bloomberg released a report on Thursday that predicts the complete collapse of the Ukrainian front lines by summer. “Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russian advances could gain significant momentum by the summer unless their allies can increase the supply of ammunition, according to a person familiar with their analysis,” according to the report. At that time, would negotiations for a peace settlement start, or would the West step in even more forcefully?

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