The tsar would have preferred to proceed with the large-scale invasion. The background revealed by Reuters with the testimony of sources close to the Russian leadership
The war in Ukraine could perhaps have been stopped in the bud.
In the early stages of the conflict there was a peace plan agreed between the parties that Putin, however, ultimately rejected.
He had introduced him to what he was at the time one of his trusted collaborators, Dmitry Kozakthe Tsar’s chief negotiator for Donbass since 2020.
Kozak, 63, of Ukrainian origins, was sure he had hit the mark: he had managed to find an agreement with Kiev capable of satisfying the Russian request to keep Ukraine out of NATO, an agreement that could have prevent Moscow from embarking on a large-scale occupation of the country.
But the Kremlin would have blocked the deal, preferring to continue with its military campaign. Putin would have made it clear that the concessions negotiated by his collaborator were not enough because in the meantime he had broadened his goals: it aimed at the annexation of large portions of Ukrainian territory. This is why the agreement was torn apart.
The background was revealed by Reuters based on the testimony of three sources close to the Russian leadershipsources who have asked for anonymity to share sensitive inside information.
The Kremlin denies everything. “This is devoid of any reference to reality. Such a thing has never happened. This is absolutely incorrect information, ”spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted. Kozak did not respond to requests for comment sent through the Kremlin.
Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the Ukrainian president, said Russia used the negotiations as a smokescreen to prepare for its invasion, but did not answer questions about the substance of the talks or confirm that a preliminary agreement has been reached. «Today we clearly understand that the Russian side has never been interested in a peaceful settlementPodolyak noted.
Before the warPutin had repeatedly stated that NATO and its military infrastructure were getting too close to Russia’s borders by welcoming new members from Eastern Europe, and that the alliance was preparing to bring Ukraine into its orbit as well: a threat to the very existence of Russia which would have forced him to react. Then, with the fighting started, while reassured on the NATO front, the tsar would have upped the ante or revealed his true goals.CopyAMP code.
An individual interviewed by Reuters, who collaborated in the post-invasion talks, said thatand negotiations stalled in early March when Ukrainian officials realized that Putin wanted to carry out the large-scale invasion.
“After February 24, Kozak was given carte blanche: they gave him the green light; got the deal. He brought him back and they told him to cancel. Everything has been erased. Putin simply changed the plan as he moved forward, ”said one of the sources close to the Russian leadership.
Failure of his plan may explain why Kozak, for years one of the most powerful men in Russia, chief negotiator and also deputy director of Putin’s staff, longtime loyalist of the tsar (since he worked with him in the 90s in the office of the mayor of St. Petersburg) has fallen from grace: Traces of him were lost in May and Ukrainian sources gave him arrested for collaborationism.
Actually six months after the war started, Kozak still officially holds his post as deputy chief of staff of the Kremlin. But he no longer deals with the Ukraine dossier. And above all, “from what I can see, Kozak is nowhere to be seen,” says a Source.
September 14, 2022 (change September 14, 2022 | 19:42)
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