During a meeting with the leaders of the African Union (AU), Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday accused Ukraine of signing a peace treaty with Moscow to end the ongoing war in 2022.
There was no direct response from Kyiv to Putin's statements, but Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a video later in the day, drew attention to the contrasting elements of the AU’s visits to Ukraine and Russia. The high-level Africa delegation traveled first to Ukraine and then to Russia with the goal of bringing the warring sides to the negotiating table.
The AU delegation, spearheaded by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, interacted with Putin at St Petersberg's Konstantinovsky Palace, and included leaders from South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Congo Republic, and the Comoro Islands.
Putin asserted that in the spring of 2022 - during the initial phase of Russia's invasion of Ukraine - a peace treaty was signed by the two countries in Istanbul as Turkey hosted a series of negotiations to help develop "trust" between the two sides.
"It was called the Treaty of permanent neutrality and security guarantees of Ukraine," Vladimir Putin said, showing a supposed draft of the treaty. "We never agreed with the Ukrainian side that the text will be confidential but we never showed it before nor commented on it. This draft of the treaty was initialled by the leader of the negotiation group from Kyiv. He put his signature. There it exists," he added.
The peace agreement was discarded by Ukraine as soon as Russia obliged the request and withdrew troops from Kyiv, Vladimir Putin alleged, saying, “Where are the guarantees that they will not renounce any other agreements in the future?”
Zelenskyy said in his message, “You all saw how the visit of the delegation of African leaders and representatives went - a visit to Ukraine, and then a visit to the Russian terrorist state. The delegation had the opportunity to see who is really interested in peace and who himself embodies war, it was very clear. Everything that was discussed in Ukraine was about the Peace Formula. Point by point. The whole content. Everything that was said in Russia was about war, about how to continue destroying lives. It is obvious that there is no alternative to the Ukrainian Peace Formula. It is good that the world hears and sees this more and more.”