The deputy head of Putin’s administration, Dmitry Kozak, who coordinated policy towards Ukraine, told the Russian president that he had made a preliminary agreement with the government in Kyiv on this matter. The sources said he estimated that thanks to the agreement, the occupation of a large part of Ukraine was no longer necessary for Russia.
Prior to the invasion, Putin repeatedly argued that NATO was expanding eastward, which allegedly endangered Russia’s security and forced it to respond.
Putin initially supported negotiations with Kyiv over NATO, but when Kozak presented the proposal to him, he made him understand that the agreement he negotiated did not provide for sufficient concessions.Reuters reported that Russia’s goal now is to annex large areas of Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the reports, and Kozak did not respond to a request for comment via the Kremlin.
Mikhailo Podolak, an advisor to the President of Ukraine, estimated that Russia was using the negotiations as a smokescreen to prepare for the invasion. He did not disclose the details of these negotiations and did not confirm the conclusion of the interim agreement. “Today we can clearly see that the Russian side has never been interested in reaching a peaceful settlement,” he added.
According to two of the three Reuters sources, Putin was presented with a draft agreement shortly after the invasion began on February 24. The Cossacks claimed that Ukraine agreed to the main demands of Russia He urged Putin to sign the agreement.
“After February 24, the Cossacks received carte blanche: they gave him the green light, and he made a deal. He returned it and asked him to leave. Everything has been cancelled. Putin simply changed the plan on the way– said one of the interviewees.
The agency said that a third source who learned of these events from people familiar with Putin’s talks with Kozak, claiming that the Russian president rejected the agreement shortly before the invasion. According to her, Kozak is still deputy head of the administration, but she is no longer involved in the Kremlin’s policy towards Ukraine.
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