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Could the Ukraine War Have Ended Just Weeks In?

Russia Tank Ukraine
A Russian tank under attack by a drone from Ukraine. Image Credit: YouTube/Ukrainian military.

Russia Says It Was Ready To Sign Early Peace Deal, But West Blocked It – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed Western leaders for continued Russian aggression in Ukraine this week.

Speaking during a visit to Pretoria, South Africa, the  Russian official claimed that Russia was ready to end the war just weeks into the conflict.

“It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation, and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict,” Lavrov said, according to The Washington Post.

“It is also well known and was published openly that our American, British, and some European colleagues told Ukraine that it is too early to deal, and the arrangement which was almost agreed was never revisited by the Kyiv regime,” he continued.

Lavrov appeared to be referring to talks that took place in late March in Istanbul, Turkey.

At the time, both the Turkish and Ukrainian presidents expressed hope that the talks would result in an agreement, with the Ukrainian president saying the talks showed “positive” signs. Ultimately, however, the negotiations came to an end, and the prospect of a peace agreement has drifted further away.

Both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin have expressed their willingness to engage in talks.

However, both sides insist that the talks must not involve the ceding of any land to the other side.

Ukraine not only intends to reclaim territories lost over the last year but also continues to push for Western support in taking back control of the Crimean peninsula.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, says that discussions can go ahead as long as Ukraine accepts the new “reality” of more of its land being absorbed by the Russian Federation.

Did Boris Johnson Torpedo A Ukraine Peace Deal?

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced criticism for some time now over claims that he may have been responsible for Ukraine rejecting a peace deal with Russia in April of last year.

In August 2022, a Foreign Affairs piece by Fiona Hill suggested that Russia and Ukraine had already agreed to a tentative settlement in April. Hill cited multiple former senior U.S. officials who said that Russia had agreed to return to its position pre-invasion, when it controlled some parts of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, in exchange for Ukraine agreeing not to seek NATO membership.

The deal, however, never came to fruition. In September, the former prime minister told the House of Commons that Western leaders should be wary of a peace deal with Russia, arguing that there is “absolutely no sign” that Russia wants to reach a deal with Ukraine, and suggesting Russia couldn’t be trusted even if there was an offer on the table.

Reporting from Ukrainska Pravda also suggested that the Russians were ready for a meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin, but two things stopped those discussions from taking place.

“But two things happened, after which a member of the Ukrainian delegation, Mykhailo Podoliak, had to openly admit that it was ‘not the time’ for the meeting of the presidents,” the outlet writes.

The first thing, Ukrainska Pravda says, was  the revelation of “atrocities, rapes, murders, massacres, looting, indiscriminate bombings and hundreds and thousands of other war crimes committed by Russian troops in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.”

The second, the article claims, “arrived in Kyiv on 9 April.”

Sources close to the Ukrainian president said that Johnson appeared in Kyiv with virtually no warning and brought with him two messages. The first was that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal and needs pressure, not negotiations. The second was reportedly an insistence that even if Ukraine is ready to sign agreements, Russia is not.

Was Johnson responsible for the deal not coming to fruition? It’s hard to say. What we can say, though, is that credible reports suggest the former British prime minister did not believe Russia could be trusted and that the scale of the crimes already committed by the Russians at this point meant that a deal should be off the cards.

The comments by Russia’s foreign minister, therefore, try to paint Russia in a positive light and the West in a negative light. Lavrov may technically be correct in saying that the West stood in the way of peace talks. Still, the Russian foreign minister also made no reference to the rape, murder, and other war crimes committed by Russian soldiers in the run-up to the alleged peace deal agreed upon by the Russians.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. jbelkin

    January 24, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    Gee, why won’t anyone accept our terms, “Stop shooting at us as we march onto your lands. We’ll eventually stop … probably.”

  2. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    January 24, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    It is common knowledge that the West has stoked the flames of war by encouraging Ukraine to not settle. This story is sadly accurate.

  3. Harmen Breedeveld

    January 25, 2023 at 6:58 am

    I am amazed by Russia apologists suggesting with a straight face that Ukraine should just settle with the guy who just invaded them, destroyed their cities and murdered countless citizens.

    Not just that, the guy who in 2014 had also invaded them and stole their land. The guy who in his writings insists that Ukraine does not insist. The guy who laments the end of the bloody Soviet empire.

    Not just that, the guy who also invaded Georgia in 2008 and stole land there. The guy who turned Chechnya into a smouldering, bloody ruin.

    The guy who also doesn’t give a damn about his own people, as he sends countless of laughably undertrained, underarmed mobilized Russians to the front to die. He just doesn’t care.

    And that’s the guy these people say Ukraine should trust? That’s the guy these people say Ukraine should give more of their land to?

    Get real. These people would never trust a promise by this guy themselves. This guy is a murderous bully. And murderous bullies only stop when forced to do so.

    War is horrible, horrific. But in this case there is no alternative. Because Putin will not stop after he signs a deal. He will just go on. And on. Until someone punches him in the face. With a hammer.

  4. mawendt

    January 25, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Problem with this ‘story’ is that although many foreign policy types claimed that a peace a agreement was around the corner, *Ukraine* was never ready to make peace with a violent occupier of their land; Zelenskyy would have had his people fight until Russians totally occupied Ukraine, and he would have had a government in exile messing with the Russians if the Ukraine hadn’t had (surprisingly, to everyone, including the invading Russian’s) kicked Russia’s army ass so bad.

    Once Ukraine saw the Russian army ‘weren’t no thang’, there was NEVER a reason to agree to any kind of a deal.

    Funny, this article and many other surrenderist compromising weak-thinking idiots believe ‘peace’ involves Ukraine giving up, surrendering it’s military and land, to the voracious Russian bear. I got news for you: if it was your country, your land, your people it would be a different story.

    Or maybe not. Many of the Western cowards endorsing Ukrainian surrender are the wealthy elite that would most probably succeed as collaborators with their new Russian overlords, assisting occupiers in targeting resistance and opposition ‘for the good of all’.

    I see it for what it is. Russia is in the wrong here. Russia needs to leave Ukrainian lands, including Ukraine. The West needs to live up to it’s promises of protection and obligations of support supposedly guaranteed when Ukraine gave up it’s nukes back in 1992, when territorial sovereignty was emphasized.

    And although opinions should never be censored, idiots, fools, cowards and liars should be called out publicly for what they are.

  5. dave

    January 26, 2023 at 3:27 am

    Invaded for a reason idiots. Did you forget the war in Donbass after USA helped overthrow Ukrainian government???

  6. Sofronie the Monk

    January 26, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    The Ukranians overthrew their government for a reason, idiot. Just like every other former Communist European country did (except Belarus). Can you let the rest of the class know why all the formerly Russian dominated countries or USSR members flocked to the EU and NATO?

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