Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday met with African leaders in St. Petersburg and displayed a document that he said was a draft treaty on Ukrainian neutrality that was drawn up during negotiations in Istanbul in March 2022.
“As you know, a string of talks between Russia and Ukraine took place in Turkey so as to work out both the confidence-building measures you mentioned and to draw up the text of the agreement,” Putin told the African delegation, according to TASS.
“We did not discuss with the Ukrainian side that this treaty would be classified, but we have never presented it, nor commented on it. This draft agreement was initialed by the head of the Kiev negotiation team. He put his signature there. Here it is,” he added.
According to RT, the treaty, titled “Permanent Neutrality and Security Guarantees for Ukraine,” required Ukraine to enshrine “permanent neutrality” in its constitution. The US, Britain, Russia, China, and France are listed as guarantors. Since the treaty was a draft, it indicates that it wasn’t finalized and more details needed to be worked out.
Putin’s claim reflects an article published in Foreign Affairs last year that cited multiple former senior US officials who said Russia and Ukraine tentatively agreed on a peace deal in April 2022. They said the agreement would have involved a Ukrainian promise not to join NATO in exchange for a Russian withdrawal to the pre-invasion lines, and Ukraine would have received security guarantees from several countries.
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