This roadmap, presented in September 2022, has developed into a ten-step plan. At the moment very few countries have approved this formula, despite requests from Kiev.
Kyiv can count on Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday February 19 reiterated his support for the “peace plan” that his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been promoting with his allies for several months. In a telephone interview, the French President also assured that he “will support this initiative at international level at the forthcoming diplomatic events”. An essential point, because Volodymyr Zelenskyy is currently struggling to convince his western partners of this plan.
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Franceinfo returns in four questions to this roadmap, which is the only acceptable way out of the conflict with Russia for the Ukrainian government.
1 Since when does Volodymyr Zelenskyi propose this plan?
We have to go back to September 21, 2022 and a United Nations General Assembly (article in English) in New York (USA) to find the first traces of the plan devised by the President of Ukraine. In a pre-recorded video message, Volodymyr Zelenskyy then proposed a five-point “peace formula” designed to punish “Russian aggression” and restore his country’s security and territorial integrity. He also insisted on the creation of a special court to try “crimes committed by the Russian army” on Ukrainian territory.
On November 15, during a G20 meeting in Bali (Indonesia), the head of state proposed to the leaders of the largest industrialized countries a more detailed plan, this time framed around ten points considered fundamental. “There is a Ukrainian peace formula. Peace for Ukraine, Europe and the world,” he commented shortly after presenting his roadmap on his Telegram channel (text in Ukrainian).
2 What are the requirements of Kiev?
In fact, the ten essential points summarize the Ukrainian government’s demands since the beginning of the conflict. The first deals with “radiological and nuclear safety” and focuses on restoring safety around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. The second point relates to the protection of Ukrainian grain exports. The peace plan proposed by Kiev then calls in a jumble for price restrictions on Russian energy resources, the restoration of Ukraine’s electricity grid, the release of all prisoners and deportees, including prisoners of war and displaced children in Russia.
Ukraine is also demanding the restoration of its territorial integrity – a “non-negotiable” point, warned Volodymyr Zelensky, quoted by the Guardian. The sixth point concerns the withdrawal of Russian troops and the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of borders between the two countries.
The final points relate to longer-term considerations: justice with the creation of a war crimes tribunal, ‘environmental protection’ with a particular focus on demining and restoring water treatment. Finally, Kiev is demanding guarantees to avoid “an escalation of the conflict” on its territory, but also to maintain security in the Euro-Atlantic area. The roadmap contains a final point: the end of the war being confirmed by the signing of a document by the parties concerned.
3 What does Moscow think?
Russia remained silent for several weeks after presenting this plan, eventually rejecting the Ukrainian initiative as a whole. In an interview (article in Russian) given to the official RIA Novosti news agency on December 29, the head of Kremlin diplomacy Sergey Lavrov took the view that this roadmap was just an “illusion” by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, before stating that that the latter might no longer be “healthy”.
“Obviously, Kiev is not ready for a dialogue,” he criticized. “Promoting all sorts of ideas and ‘peace formulas’, Volodymyr Zelenskyy harbors the illusion that, with the help of the West, we will implement the withdrawal of our troops from the Russian territory of Donbass, Crimea, Zaporizhia and the Kherson region, the payment of reparations by Russia, participation ‘with confessions before international courts’…” For the Russian foreign minister, “talking to anyone under these conditions is out of the question.” A position that has not changed since then.
4 Which countries support this initiative?
Apart from France, which intends to promote Ukraine’s plan on the international stage, very few nations have publicly declared that they share Kiev’s demands. We find Austria at the moment, whose Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen believes that this plan can lead to a ceasefire. But also Israel, whose Secretary of State Eli Cohen said on twitter (in English) on February 16 that he “[porterait] the Ukrainian peace initiative” before the United Nations.
Since December 2022, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been proposing to organize a “world summit on the peace plan,” according to the phrase used by the Ukrainian Presidency on its website (in Ukrainian). A hypothetical meeting at which the Ukrainian leader would like Russia to “take a concrete and significant step towards the diplomatic agreement that Moscow talks about so regularly”.
Waiting to find out whether such a summit will actually be organized, Ukraine is trying to win the support of the major powers in bilateral talks. December 26, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Twitter (in English) after mentioning this roadmap during a phone conversation with his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the discussion has not resulted in official support so far. While US President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Kiev on Monday, February 20, the issue could return to the negotiating table, this time between Ukraine and the United States.