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Will the negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian sides be successful in conditions when the positions of the two countries are diametrically opposed and incompatible?

Photo: Ukrainian delegation during negotiations with Russia 

Source: Deutsche Welle

Dialogue between the belligerents is important even during the war, because any war must end with a treaty. In parallel with the hostilities, negotiations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation continue. According to officials, the negotiation process is quite difficult, but from time to time the parties declare some progress and express restrained optimism. There are still few official details, but the initial positions of the two countries are known, they are diametrically opposed and incompatible.

As of March 10, 2022, according to diplomatic sources of the publication «Mirror of the week», the demands of the Russian Federation on Ukraine were as follows:

1. Refusal to move to NATO.

2. The neutral status of Ukraine, while Russia that attacked Ukraine is ready to become one of the guarantors.

3. Russian should be the second state language and all laws restricting it should be abolished.

4. Ukraine recognizes the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as Russian territory.

5. Recognition by Ukraine of the independence of the so-called «DPR» and «LPR» within the administrative boundaries of the regions (including the territories now controlled by Ukraine).

6. «Denazification» (i.e. the destruction of Ukrainians as a nation).

7. Prohibition of the activities of ultranationalist, «Nazi» and «neo-Nazi parties» (which in fact do not exist in Ukraine) and public organizations, the abolition of existing laws on the glorification of Nazis and neo-Nazis.

8. «Demilitarization of Ukraine». A complete rejection of offensive weapons, under which, if desired, any type of weapons can be considered to be offensive.[1]

Such demands seem absurd, especially given Russia's colossal military losses since the beginning of the armed aggression and its inability to take control of major cities. According to the leadership of Ukraine, the priorities in the negotiations of the Ukrainian side are as follows:

1) ceasefire,

2) complete withdrawal of enemy troops,

3) the end of the war,

4) effective security guarantees for Ukraine,

5) preservation of sovereignty, restoration of territorial integrity of the state within borders as of 1991.

So far, four rounds of talks have been held between Russia and Ukraine. Also, Foreign Ministers Dmitry Kuleba and Sergei Lavrov met in Antalya (Turkey) with the mediation of Turkey. During this period, no fundamental changes took place in the positions of the parties. There is a gradual process of working out documents that, according to the Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President Mykhailo Podoliak, will be able to be signed by the leaders of the states during their probable meeting.

The results are observed in the humanitarian sphere, in the issue of creating green corridors. However, even the humanitarian factor is used by the Russian Federation in the military interest. The problem is that Russia is waging a total war against the Ukrainian state, brutally ignoring any norms of international law.

Russian troops use cluster munitions to shell residential areas, bombard cities and towns and besiege a number of settlements, disrupting agreements on the evacuation of civilians. On March 16, 2022, it was finally possible to secure a green corridor from the city of Mariupol. In one day, about 11,000 people left for Zaporizhzhya [2]. However, between the settlements of Vasilivka and Kamyanske, the invaders opened mortar fire on the evacuated people. 5 people were injured, two of them were children.

The fact is that Russia considers the negotiations themselves as part of military operations. Therefore, before each negotiations, it resorts to powerful missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, leading to numerous casualties. Mariupol is being shelled for the same reason. Russia is destroying residential buildings and storage facilities in which residents are hiding. Near the Mariupol Drama Theater, the inscription «children» was painted on the pavement, which the Russian military saw from its drones. However, this did not stop the occupiers, who struck at the theater, where hundreds of people, in particular children, were hiding. The war crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine pursue the pragmatic goal - to force Ukraine to peace on its own terms. In parallel, the «denazification» of Ukraine is taking place, which in fact is the genocide of the Ukrainian people. Therefore, Volodymyr Zelenskyy finds himself in a difficult position, choosing between the future of the state and the lives of thousands of citizens of Ukraine.


Photo: The inscription «Children» next to the city theater of Mariupol, where the inhabitants of the city were hiding

Source: Maxar


Negotiations between the two states are held with the aim of ensuring communication and resolving predominantly humanitarian issues. The agreements that can be concluded today will not be able to resolve the fundamental contradictions that exist between Russia and Ukraine and satisfy them. Russia is not yet ready to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine and abandon its imperialist aspirations to take over neighboring countries. Ukraine, in turn, is ready to continue to rebuff Russian aggression in the struggle for its independence.

The final agreement is possible only in case of military victory/defeat of one of the parties. Therefore, in the current situation, the main diplomats of both states are the Armed Forces, whose actions determine the negotiating positions of the countries. The military losses of Russian troops led the Kremlin to talk about the possibility of negotiations already on the third day of hostilities. Now there is a decrease in the intensity of hostilities at the front. Ukraine is conducting a strategic defense operation to deplete the offensive potential of the enemy, and the course of this war largely depends on the ability to accumulate forces for a counteroffensive.[3] Ukraine must adapt the economy to the new realities of wartime in order to ensure its sustainment and functioning of the life of the country. It is also important to increase sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation and the military potential of Ukraine by obtaining air defense systems, fighters and heavy equipment from partner countries.

Thus, Ukraine will be able to protect cities from bombing by Russia and strengthen the offensive potential. Effective adaptation to the realities of wartime will create conditions in which time will really play in favor of Ukraine. Only Russian military defeat will make it possible to reach a fair agreement that will restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine with the preservation of sovereignty. Only such a course of events will ensure sustainable peace on the European continent.

1. ZN.UA стали відомі шість ультимативних вимог Росії до України, 10.03.2022,
2. За день із Маріуполя до Запоріжжя виїхали 11 тисяч людей, 16.03.2022,
3.  «Найелітніші сили РФ — малоефективні». Військовий аналітик детально проаналізував 10 діб стратегічної оборонної операції України, 06.03.2022,