Media reveal details of first Ukraine-Russia talks during war

6 March, 03:35 PM
Press conference after the negotiations (

Press conference after the negotiations (

Russia first proposed talks with Ukraine just a day after launching its full-scale, unprovoked invasion of its neighbor on Feb. 24, 2022, the RBC-Ukraine news agency reported on March 6, with reference to an unnamed Ukrainian source who was present at talks.

According to the agency, the initiative came mainly from the Russians, with the first diplomatic contact taking place on Feb. 25.

The source said that the Russians, “apparently at the request of Beijing,” had requested the evacuation of Chinese students who were studying in Ukraine.

Initially, Russia considered Minsk as a venue for negotiations, as a platform that had already been used for talks regarding Ukraine’s Donbas, but Kyiv refused for obvious reasons — the Russians had attacked through Belarus and Ukraine considered Minsk to be a party in the war.

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Another option suggested holding negotiations near the Ukrainian-Belarusian border on the Ukrainian side, where the distance directly from Kyiv was up to a hundred kilometers.

However, it was from there that Russia launched its offensive, large-scale battles were underway, and no one could give any guarantees that the Ukrainian delegation would reach its destination.

As a result, the sides agreed that the negotiations would take place near the border, but on the Belarusian side in Gomel Region. There were no options to get there directly, so the Ukrainian delegation made a big circle through Poland.

Initially, the talks were scheduled for Feb. 27, but the Ukrainian delegation was deliberately playing it long, making the Russians nervous.

“We entered the hall and said ‘oh, hello!’” the source said.

“It was important to show that we aren’t and won’t be broken, despite the situation.”

At the same time, the Ukrainian delegates refused to hand over their mobile phones, citing the fact that the war was ongoing in Ukraine, and it was important for them to stay in touch, and it helped many times during the negotiations.

In turn, the Russian side did not expect such dexterity from the Ukrainians as they (Russians) apparently went to the negotiations to accept the capitulation.

“The Ukrainian side set the tone, for example, with regard to the regulations: first by inviting the opponents to read out their demands, and then proceed to their sequential discussion,” the report says.

Also, the Ukrainian side insisted that the negotiations take place in an off-the-record mode, as well as bringing consistent information to the media, without any “leaks.”

On Oct. 4, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved a National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) decision that outlaws negotiations with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, suggesting peace talks with Moscow could commence only after a new Russian leader emerges.

Zelenskyy later said that Ukraine would be able to find a format for dialogue with Putin if Russian forces withdrew from occupied Ukrainian territories.

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