Ending the Russo-Ukrainian War: How will peace be achieved?

A sign with the words "stop war" written on it
Mike Wong 

During the Russo-Ukrainian War there were attempts for a ceasefire and a peace agreement, but these were never enacted, with both the Russian Federation and Ukraine refusing to concede territory. As events including the Russian withdrawal from Kiev and Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast continued, Russia held referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Such referendums were deemed illegal by the international community through a UN Resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Oblasts. Although there were growing calls for peace talks in 2023, mediation attempts by countries failed due to Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of refusing to restart peace negotiations. Russia demanded that Kiev recognised its occupied territories, whilst Ukraine demanded that Russia withdraw from all occupied territories, including Crimea, yet Russia vowed to never leave Crimea.

Ukraine and Russia initially expressed positivity on peace talks, but talks collapsed

Attempted peace negotiations began in March 2022 and lasted until April 7, where talks involved Ukrainian and Russian negotiators meeting in Belarus to agree peace by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (Who is disputed with opposition exiled leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.)

Ukraine and Russia initially expressed positivity on peace talks, but talks collapsed.

There were five rounds of peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia in Belarus, with initial positive signs, but ultimately broke down. The Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers also met in Turkey, with the Turkish foreign minister acting as a mediator. Additionally, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited Moscow to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin on peace talks,  stating Western powers backed the peace deal between Russia and Ukraineyet suggested chances of a peace deal were around 50-50, he later eventually expressed doubts on the sincerity of peace. This was further echoed by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s visit on April 11, where he expressed scepticism on a peace agreement due to the massive different perspectives on the circumstances of the invasion being adopted by the two nations.

This was ultimately dismissed as “Pro-Russia” by Ukraine’s President

From April 12 onwards, the Russian President stated that peace talks were at a “Dead End” and although there were telephone conversations initiated to emphasise the need for a ceasefire, such as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s phone call to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, peace talks wouldn’t be revived. Instead, mediating countries sent diplomatic representatives to both Ukraine and Russia (in the form of peace missions) to get both Russia and Ukraine back to the negotiating table. Furthermore, Turkey brokered the UN Grain Initiative Deal on July 22 2022, securing exports of essential grain and fertiliser from Ukraine and Russia to be delivered to countries facing food shortages. Also, in October 2022, China and India called for de-escalation and dialogue, and in December Ukraine’s Foreign Minister called for a peace summit by February 2023. On the other hand, a controversial poll made by Elon Musk consisted of Ukraine conceding Crimea, a UN Referendum’s in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, and dropping its bid to join NATO. This was ultimately dismissed as “Pro-Russia” by Ukraine’s President, whilst the Russian government welcomed it.

Many want peace negotiations and a ceasefire to be enacted as soon as possible

From April 2023 onwards, calls for peace negotiations and talks between Russia and Ukraine intensified, especially after the February 24 UN session, which was the one-year mark since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A huge number of ministers, global representatives, and high-ranking officials called for a resumption of peace negotiations and a ceasefire. Many countries sent peace missions to Ukraine and Russia, seeking a ceasefire and peace negotiations.

Many want peace negotiations and a ceasefire to be enacted as soon as possible.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stated that Ukraine should “Give up Crimea” to end the war and withdraw from occupied territories before February 2022. He also proposed the creation of a “Peace club”, consisting of Brazil and China, whilst China had also introduced its 12-point peace plan, and sent a peace mission to Ukraine after China’s President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Zelenskyy.

Ukraine rejected Brazil’s peace plan, whilst the US, responding to President Silva’s accusations of the US not wanting peace, accused Silva of promoting “Russian and Chinese propaganda”, with him being “simply misguided” about the US and the EU’s position on peace.

Whilst the international community is sincere about peace in Ukraine, it is not as straightforward as it seems

Indonesia also presented a multi-peace plan to Ukraine and Russia, whilst a delegation from Africa, consisting of representatives from South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Congo-Brazzaville, Comoros, Zambia, and Uganda, visited Ukraine and Russia to call for peace. Both rejected the list of peace plans presented, with Ukraine calling the peace mediating countries (But exempted China, as Ukraine was ready to accept China as a peace mediator if they could convince Putin to negotiate) on “Russia’s side”.

Whilst the international community is sincere about peace in Ukraine, it is not as straightforward as it seems.

It is also important that the international community continues to strongly push for peace negotiations

In conclusion, noting that there has been a growing call for peace negotiations and a ceasefire, Ukraine and Russia will have to sit down once more at the negotiating table and discuss peace terms potentially including territorial concessions and guarantees to protect Russian speakers completely in Ukraine; particularly over Crimea. Overall, it remains to be seen what type of peace agreement would be brokered, due to the diverging views of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, with the vast majority of the Ukrainian population not supporting any territorial concessions to Russia at all – according to Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. It is also important that the international community continues to strongly push for peace negotiations, and make strong efforts to prioritise those negatively affected by the war, to ensure a long-lasting and achievable peace agreement is reached.


Mike Wong 

Featured image courtesy of Mathias Reding via Pexels. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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