Ukraine and Russia have made significant progress on a 15-point plan that would guarantee a cease-fire and the withdrawal of Russian troops as long as Kyiv commits to neutrality, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Wednesday.
The British newspaper, which cites three sources involved in the negotiations, points out that the missions of both countries were discussed on Monday on this draft agreement, which would imply that Ukraine renounces to join NATO and to host foreign military bases in exchange for receiving the protection of countries such as the United States, Turkey or the United Kingdom.
However, the FT says that both these guarantees of protection by Western countries and the future status of the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia since 2014 pose major stumbling blocks in the development of the talks.
Kyiv claims that the model of neutrality acceptable to the country should be “its own” and not inspired by others such as Sweden or Austria — as Moscow a priori intends — although it opens the door to abandoning its claim to join the Atlantic Alliance.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, acknowledged on Tuesday that the positions in the negotiations are now “more realistic,” although the details of these talks were not known until now.
The 15-point plan calls for Ukraine to maintain its armed forces, but to stay out of military alliances with other countries.
Also, according to the same source, protection rights would be guaranteed for the Russian language in Ukraine, which is widely used even though Ukrainian is the only official language.
The draft also addresses humanitarian issues, according to an advisor to Zelensky quoted by the FT, who acknowledges that Kyiv would be willing to deal separately with the status of Crimea and the Donbas territories, whose independence was recognized by Moscow before the beginning of the invasion on February 24.
However, the agreement would in any case contemplate a total withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory through which they have advanced since the day of the invasion.