Russia seeks “peaceful resolution of any disputes”, so it took advantage of the offer and withdrew troops from Kyiv in the spring of 2022 to be ready for negotiations. This is how Vladimir Putin explained the retreat of the Russian military from the Ukrainian capital to African heads of state.
“In fact, a draft of this treaty was agreed upon, but after our troops were withdrawn from under Kyiv – and we were asked to do this to create conditions for a final treaty – the Kyiv authorities abandoned all previous agreements”, the Kremlin quoted Putin as saying.
The president did not specify who exactly was “asked” to withdraw troops. He explained that he did not want to disclose the details of the agreements, considering such a step “incorrect”.
During the speech, Putin also said that the initiator of the war in Ukraine was the West, which “started to drag Ukraine into NATO”. Putin emphasized that Ukraine’s neutral status was of fundamental importance for Russia.
Earlier, the Russian president complained that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were not taking place due to Kyiv’s fault. “At the heart of the conflict is the creation of threats to Russia’s security by the US and NATO – and they refuse to negotiate on equal security for all, including Russia. And Ukraine itself, or more precisely, the Ukrainian current regime refuses to negotiate”, Putin said.
Moscow officially called the retreat of Russian troops from under Kyiv in the spring of 2022 a “goodwill gesture” to maintain the peace talks process. After the military left the occupied territories, the bodies of hundreds of civilians killed in February and March were found there.