Putin rejected deal ensuring Ukraine stay out of NATO before war

Picture source - Reuters via rferl.org

Russian President Vladimir Putin had rejected his chief envoy on Ukraine Dmitry Kozak’s provisional deal with Kyiv, ensuring that Ukraine stayed out of NATO, before the war began.

A Reuters report has revealed that three people close to the Russian leadership had said that Kozak had told Russian President that he had struck a provisional deal with Kyiv that would satisfy Russia’s demand for Ukraine to stay out of NATO, but Putin rejected it and pressed ahead with the military campaign.

Prior to the Russia-Ukraine war, Putin had repeatedly asserted that NATO and its military infrastructure had been getting closer to its border and was preparing to bring Ukraine into its orbit. He had called it as an existential threat to Russia that would force him to react.

Putin had reportedly stated that the concessions agreed by Kozak were not enough and that his objectives now including annexing parts of Ukrainian territory.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has negating these reports and told Reuters that no such thing had ever happened.

Ukrainian president’s advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, has said that Russia used negotiations as a smokescreen for its preparations of the invasion and that Russia has never been interested in a peaceful settlement.

Reuters has quoted sources as saying that Kozak, who was assigned to get the deal, had recommended Putin for agreement as he believed that he had agreement on the main terms sought by Russia. However, Putin later changed the plan and went along with the invasion.

However, the confirmation of any such deal on Ukraine’s end could not be verified, the agency has stated. It has also claimed that Kozak, who is still Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff, is no longer handling the Ukraine dossier.

The original report appeared here