Amid increasing evidence of Russian forces failing to secure and encircle Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region, Ukraine and Russia have announced that the peace negotiations have officially been suspended until further notice.
Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stated that “the negotiation process is on hold,” as both parties failed to find common ground on several issues regarding the invasion. He blamed Moscow for being extremely negative toward the peace talks and that it was blind to its actions in Ukraine. It is important to note that Podolyak is also Ukraine’s lead negotiator in the peace talks with Russia.
“The strategic objective of the Russians is: all or nothing,” expressing that Russia was not willing to compromise on any of its demands. Podolyak also explained that Russia is not aware (or is at least pretending to be not aware) of its losses in Ukraine and that the war was not “taking place according to its rules, its timetable, or its plans.”
Peace talks back underway between Russia and Ukraine, per this photo posted by Russia's lead negotiator Vladimir Medinsky and then deleted for some reason. pic.twitter.com/F95SXJYWaw
— max seddon (@maxseddon) April 1, 2022
However, the Ukrainian Presidential Adviser did not put the possibility of negotiations resuming down the drain as he said that any war would still end at the “negotiating table.”
“But any war will still end at the negotiating table, and it seems to me that this process will be moderated by Mr. Zelensky,” he said.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also weighed in on the issue, stating that there was no significant movement with the peace talks with Kyiv. He then shifted the blame to the Ukrainian side, stating that there was an “unwillingness” from the leadership of Ukraine to continue peace talks.
“Negotiations are not progressing, and we note the complete unwillingness of Ukrainian negotiators to continue this process,” Peskov stated.
Russian state media RIA Novosti also reported on the matter, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko stating that Ukraine was the one to withdraw from the peace talks negotiations.
“No, negotiations are not continuing. Ukraine actually withdrew from the negotiation process. In any form,” Rudenko stated. He also revealed during this time that Russia had drafted a “treaty,” but it was not accepted by Kyiv. It is unknown what this treaty contains.
This news was also echoed by the Head of Russia’s peace delegation Vladimir Medinsky, who also said that Kyiv did not respond to a draft treaty submitted to Ukraine on April 15th. He further stated that the Ukrainian side had initially agreed to most of the contents of the draft.
“But they probably represent that part of the Ukrainian elite that is most interested in reaching a peace agreement,” he surmised. “And there is probably another part of the elite that doesn’t want peace, and that draws direct financial and political benefit from a continuation of the war.”
Head of the Ukrainian delegation David Arakhamia (R), an MP chairing President Volodymyr Zelensky's party in the parliament, meets in Istanbul with the head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky, aide to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
📷: President's Office pic.twitter.com/CDQoOQCZdr
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 29, 2022
Medinsky was surprisingly optimistic about the whole peace process stating that peace would come “sooner or later” and that “mutual interests, harmony, and beneficial cohabitation” was would in various forms. It is a deviation from the hardline, tough, aggressive stance Putin and his officials had been taking during the three-month-old war. This may be a sign that Russia is acknowledging that they don’t have any bargaining chips to put on the table as they know they’re losing, just that they do not want to say it out loud.
In response to this, a member of the Ukrainian delegation Rustem Umerov said that the Russian delegation was spewing “fakes and lies.” “We are defending ourselves,” Umerov said. “If Russia wants to get out, they can get out to their borders even today. But they are not doing it.”
He further asserted that Russia had “no consistency” with their rhetoric and that the Russians were acting as if they did not want a peace deal. “They always tend to twist the story that Russia is good, Ukraine is bad.”
Why Ukraine Shouldn’t Be Worried About The Peace Talks Breaking Down
We will never know for sure who exactly has not been cooperating with the peace talks. However, one thing is for sure; Ukraine should not be worried about the peace talks breaking down.
For one, the Ukrainian government has always expressed its willingness to compromise. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky already gave in to one of Russia’s demands, which was Ukraine not joining NATO. Zelensky had said last March that he was ready for dialogue and that he was no longer insisting on a NATO membership.
“I am ready for a dialogue. We are not ready for the capitulation because it’s not me. It’s about the people who elected me. Regarding NATO, I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine. The alliance is afraid of controversial things and confrontation with Russia,” he explained.
Secondly, Ukraine is winning the war. Plain and simple. Recent developments and battle maps show the world that Russia is struggling once again, failing to encircle Ukrainian positions in Donbas to secure the “liberation” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics.
SOFREP previously reported on an entire Russian Tank Battalion being destroyed in a failed river crossing at the Siverskyi Donets River, near the town of Bilohorivka. The Ukrainian 17th Tank Brigade destroyed some 100 Russian tanks and armored vehicles from the Russian 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade, which is seen to be another large failure of the Russian forces as it is a testament to their lack of air superiority in the region and more so, evidence that they lack training and knowledge in actual combat.
Artillerymen of the 17th tank brigade of the #UAarmy have opened the holiday season for ruscists. Some bathed in the Siverskyi Donets River, and some were burned by the May sun. pic.twitter.com/QsRsXmnJ65
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 11, 2022
So, if Russia is acting tough on the negotiation table, Ukraine can simply go on with the war and forcibly defeat them at their own game. This is not to say that a prolonged war is good. In fact, nobody wants people to die because of a prolonged war. It’s traumatic, it’s costly, and innocent people get killed. However, with the Ukrainians gaining ground in Kharkiv, as previously reported, then it is only a matter of time that Ukrainian forces launch a wide-scale counter-attack to take back territories that were originally theirs.
“The more we resist, the more we believe that we are capable of throwing Russian troops completely off our territories,” Ukrainian political analyst Maria Zolkina said. She further noted that a return to the borderlines before the February 24th invasion would not satisfy the Ukrainian public. Simply put, the Ukrainian public may be saying that “We’re winning. Why should we stop now when we can take it all back?”