Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has strongly rejected the claims that he interfered with peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia in the spring of 2022. In an interview with The Times, he labelled them as “total nonsense” and “Russian propaganda.”

Johnson asserted that, during a conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky following the peace talks in Istanbul, he just “expressed concerns” about the nature of the potential agreement.

He assured Zelensky of the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine, stating that the country would back them “by a thousand percent.”

The accusations against Johnson surfaced after David Arahamiya, the leader of the Servant of the People party faction in the Verkhovna Rada and head of the Ukrainian delegation in talks with Russia, made several controversial statements in November 2023.

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In an interview with Ukrainian journalist Natalia Moseychuk, Arahamiya cited various reasons for Kyiv’s decision not to negotiate with Moscow in 2022, including Johnson’s unexpected visit to Kyiv.

According to the lawmaker, while another round of talks was underway in Istanbul, Boris Johnson unexpectedly came to Kyiv on Apr. 9, 2022, and said that Ukraine “shouldn’t sign anything with them at all – and let’s just fight.”

He also revealed that Russia proposed ending the war in spring 2022 on the condition that Ukraine abandon its NATO aspirations and adopt a neutral stance.

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“They really hoped almost to the last that they would put the squeeze on us to sign such an agreement so that we would take neutrality. It was the biggest thing for them,” Arahamiya said.

“They were ready to end the war if we took – as Finland once did – neutrality and made commitments that we would not join NATO. This was the key point,” he added.

Speaking further and explaining Kyiv’s refusal to accept the proposal, Arakhamia said that it would require a constitutional change, given that Ukraine’s Constitution states its intention to become a NATO member.

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Additionally, he emphasized a lack of trust in the Russian position.

“There is no, and there was no, trust in the Russians that they would do it. That could only be done if there were security guarantees.”

Arahamiya clarified that signing such an agreement without guarantees would have left Ukraine vulnerable to a second incursion.

Russian commentators regarded Arahamiya’s statements about Johnson as confirmation of propaganda theories suggesting that Kyiv declined negotiations under pressure from Western partners.

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, claimed that Johnson had “forbidden” Kyiv from signing peace agreements with Russia, saying that the “Bucha massacre” was orchestrated by Kyiv “as an excuse to disrupt the negotiation process.”

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine took place during the early stages of the full-scale war, with negotiations held in Belarus and Turkey. Ukrainska Pravda reported how, at that stage, the Russian side expressed readiness for a meeting between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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But discussions were interrupted after Russian troops withdrew from Kyiv, revealing the extent of crimes committed, committed, notably the Bucha massacre.

Three days after Johnson's departure from Kyiv, Putin publicly stated that talks with Ukraine had “turned into a dead end.”

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