Russian Official Says Ukraine Was Ready to Sign Peace Deal Early in the War But Gave Up Due to US Pressure

Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev says Moscow approved 'in principle' Ukraine's proposals during short-lived negotiations

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said Thursday that Ukraine was ready to sign a peace deal with Russia in the early days of the war but gave up on negotiations due to US pressure.

“Had it not been for the US pressure on those whom they installed at the head of Ukraine, this situation would have not happened. Even the Ukrainian leaders themselves were ready for signing a peace treaty and gave Russia written proposals that we, in principle, approved,” Patrushev said. He said there are “interested parties in this conflict,” mainly the US and the UK.

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held in-person talks at the end of March 2022 in Istanbul and followed up with virtual consultations. According to the account of former US officials speaking to Foreign Affairs, the two sides agreed on the framework for a tentative deal that would have involved a Russian withdrawal in exchange for Ukrainian neutrality.

But in April 2022, then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv and urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia. According to a report from Ukrainska Pravda, Johnson said even if Zelensky was ready to sign a deal with Putin, Kyiv’s Western backers were not.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, Johnson’s position was that of “the collective West, which back in February [2022] had suggested Zelensky should surrender and flee, now felt that Putin was not really as powerful as they had previously imagined, and that here was a chance to ‘press him.'” The report said Russia was open to a Putin-Zelensky meeting at the time, but that possibility came to a halt after Johnson’s visit.

Then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet was trying to mediate between Putin and Zelensky in March 2022 and gave a similar account of the West’s position. He said the US and its allies “blocked” his mediation effort and that he thought there was a “legitimate decision by the West to keep striking Putin” and not negotiate.

After peace talks were scuttled in April 2022, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he expected the conflict to end after the Istanbul talks but then realized some countries in NATO wanted to prolong the war to “weaken” Russia. A few days after Cavusoglu’s comments, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin admitted that one of the US’s goals in supporting Ukraine is to see Russia “weakened.”

The Biden administration has not dropped its opposition to peace talks as Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently rejected the idea of a ceasefire and vowed to continue building up Ukraine’s military.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.