Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that “everything” [the war, started by Russia in February 2014] could have been finished “year and a half ago,” following the peace negotiations in Turkey and Belarus, but Ukrainian authorities turned out to be “idiots” who threw the signed agreements into the “trash bin.”

“We agreed on everything. Moreover, the head of the negotiating group from Ukraine even put his signature on this. The signature is there, and we have the document,” Putin said, speaking to the Russian municipal authorities in Moscow.

“We were only told that we need to give some sign that Russia really intends to resolve these issues peacefully; we need to withdraw troops from Kyiv. We did it. A day later, they threw all the agreements in the trash,” he added.


Speaking further, the Kremlin chief referred to the recent controversial statements of David Arakhamia, the leader of the Servant of the People party faction in the Verkhovna Rada and head of the Ukrainian delegation in talks with Russia.

In an interview with Ukrainian journalist Natalia Moseychuk in November 2023, Arakhamia cited the unexpected Boris Johnson visit to Kyiv as one of the reasons for Kyiv’s decision not to negotiate with Moscow in 2022.

Arakhamia said in the interview: “Now they have publicly stated, including the head of this negotiating group and the leader of the ruling party in parliament, in the Rada, saying: ‘Yes, we were ready. We missed this opportunity because the then British Prime Minister, Mr. Johnson, came and persuaded us not to implement these agreements.’”

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“Well, idiots, right?” Putin said. “To put it bluntly: ‘If we had followed through, everything would have been finished a year and a half ago.’ This once again underscores they are not independent. It is evident to everyone and apparent to the entire world.”


According to Arakhamia’s statements, 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.

“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,” Arakhamia 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.

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.”


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

Russian commentators regarded Arakhamia’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.”

Meanwhile, Former UK Prime Minister 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.”

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine took place during the early stages of the full-scale phase of the Russian war in Ukraine, 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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