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Putin rejected Ukraine peace deal struck by aide as war began

Russian President Vladimir Putin scrapped a peace take care of Ukraine that had been negotiated by his prime envoy in the beginning of the conflict, and as a substitute solid forward with the bloody invasion to overcome extra of the neighboring nation’s territory, a brand new report claims.

The Ukrainian-born envoy, Dmitry Kozak, informed the Russian president on the early phases of the battle that he believed the provisional settlement he had hammered out with Kyiv would forestall Ukraine from becoming a member of NATO — and take away the necessity for Moscow to pursue a large-scale occupation of Ukraine, based on three folks near the Kremlin talking solely to Reuters.

Putin, 69, had repeatedly claimed earlier than the conflict that NATO was creeping nearer to Russia’s borders by accepting new members from Japanese Europe, and that the alliance was making ready to carry Ukraine into the fold as effectively. Putin publicly mentioned the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in NATO represented an existential menace to Russia, forcing him to react.

Sources close to the Kremlin said that Putin, had pulled the plug on Kozak's peace agreement with Kyiv and forged ahead with the war.
Sources near the Kremlin mentioned that Putin had pulled the plug on Kozak’s peace settlement with Kyiv and solid forward with the conflict.
Getty Photos

However, regardless of earlier backing the peace talks, Putin made it clear when offered with Kozak’s deal that the concessions negotiated by his trusted deputy chief of workers didn’t go far sufficient, the sources mentioned. He expanded his targets to incorporate annexing parts of Ukrainian territory.

Requested concerning the Reuters report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov categorically denied that Putin had pulled the plug on a peace deal, saying: “That has completely no relation to actuality. No such factor ever occurred. It’s completely incorrect info.”

Kozak didn’t reply to requests for remark despatched through the Kremlin.

Kremlin's deputy chief of staff Dmitry Kozak gives a press conference at the Russian Ambassador's residence in Paris
Kremlin deputy chief of workers Dmitry Kozak offers a press convention on the Russian ambassador’s residence in Paris.
AFP through Getty Photos

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, mentioned Russia had used the negotiations as a smokescreen to arrange for its invasion, now in its seventh month, however he didn’t reply to questions concerning the substance of the talks or verify {that a} preliminary deal was reached.

“At the moment, we clearly perceive that the Russian facet has by no means been fascinated about a peaceable settlement,” Podolyak mentioned.

Two of the three sources mentioned a push to get the deal finalized occurred instantly after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. Inside days, Kozak believed he had Ukraine’s settlement to the primary phrases Russia had been in search of and advisable to Putin that he signal an settlement, the sources mentioned.

“After Feb. 24, Kozak was given carte blanche: They gave him the inexperienced mild; he received the deal. He introduced it again and so they informed him to clear off. Every little thing was canceled. Putin merely modified the plan as he went alongside,” mentioned one of many sources near the Russian management.

The third supply — who was informed concerning the occasions by individuals who have been briefed on the discussions between Kozak and Putin — differed on the timing, saying Kozak had proposed the deal to Putin, and had it rejected, simply earlier than the invasion.

Kozak, 63, has been a loyal lieutenant to Putin since working with him within the Nineteen Nineties within the St. Petersburg mayor’s workplace. He’s been the president’s deputy chief of workers since January 2020, after beforehand serving as deputy prime minister for 12 years.

Kozak was well-placed to barter a peace deal since Putin had tasked him in 2020 with conducting talks concerning the Donbas area of japanese Ukraine, which has been managed by Russian-backed separatists following an rebellion in 2014.

After main the Russian delegation in talks with Ukrainian officers in Berlin on Feb. 10 — brokered by France and Germany — Kozak informed a late-night information convention that the newest spherical of these negotiations had ended with no breakthrough.

Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers destroyed during a counteroffensive operation of the Ukrainian army are seen near Izium in Kharkiv region on Wednesday.
Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers destroyed throughout a counter-offensive operation of the Ukrainian military close to Izium within the Kharkiv area on Wednesday.
through REUTERS

Kozak additionally was a type of current when, three days earlier than the invasion, Putin gathered his navy and safety chiefs and key aides within the Kremlin’s Yekaterinsky corridor for a gathering of Russia’s Safety Council.

State tv cameras recorded a part of the assembly, the place Putin laid out plans to present formal recognition to separatist entities in japanese Ukraine.

As soon as the cameras have been ushered out of the huge room with its neo-classical columns and domed ceiling, Kozak spoke out in opposition to Russia taking any steps to escalate the state of affairs with Ukraine, mentioned two of the three folks near the Russian management, in addition to a 3rd one that realized about what occurred from individuals who took half within the assembly.

One other individual interviewed by Reuters, who helped within the post-invasion talks, mentioned discussions fell aside in early March when Ukrainian officers understood Putin was dedicated to urgent forward with the large-scale invasion.

Six months after the beginning of the conflict, Kozak stays in his high-placed publish inside the Kremlin, however he’s now not dealing with issues associated to Ukraine, based on six of the sources who spoke to Reuters.

“From what I can see, Kozak is nowhere to be seen,” mentioned a supply near the separatist management in japanese Ukraine

With Submit wires

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