Tracking Ukraine-Russia Ceasefire Negotiations
Parley Policy Initiative is keeping a record of ceasefire negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. This article will be updated with developments as they occur.
The negotiating room, as prepared by Belarusian officials for the initial round of negotiations on 28 February 2022 (via Belarus MFA)
The G20 members complete negotiations on the language related to the Russia-Ukraine War for the Leaders' declaration. Although the language is tempered compared to original proposals, the G20 dedicates a section to the issue (text included below):
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi travels to Kyiv with representatives from Rakuten, Marubeni, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Allm Inc., and Tsubame BHB. The two sides discuss postwar recovery and agree to begin negotiations on postwar security guarantees pursuant to the G7 Joint Declaration of support for Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and other Japanese delegates, 9 September 2023 (photo via Ukraine's Presidential Office)
Russian authorities hold parliamentary elections in occupied territories of Ukraine. Russian state media claims that ten personnel from seven countries (Cameroon, France, Indonesia, Iran, Portugal, Serbia, USA) observed the elections in occupied Mariupol.
Cuba's Ministry of the Interior announces that they have detained 17 people connected to a Russian scheme to recruit Cuban mercenaries to fight in Ukraine (14 recruits and 3 recruiters).
The Ukrainian government secured the release of nine more children from Russian custody. According to Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets, one of the children had been accused of blowing up a bridge and spent a month in interrogation.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko announces that the Russian and Turkish governments will work together to determine implementation arrangements for the transfer of Russian grain to African nations. Such arrangements became necessary after the Kremlin decided to terminate Russia’s participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen meets with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. The two discuss existing security assistance from Denmark, raising demining as another potential area of cooperation.
President Zelensky concludes his visit to the frontlines with a trip to Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. The day prior, he was in Zaporizhzhia Oblast to discuss the counter-offensive aimed at liberating occupied areas of the country.
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with frontline commanders in Bakhmut, 5 September 2023 (photo via Ukraine's Presidential Office)
Presidents Erdoğan and Putin meet in Sochi, where they discuss Türkiye's role in mediating peace between Russia and Ukraine and efforts aimed at reviving the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Key points from their joint presser are summarized below:
Erdoğan: Türkiye previously hosted Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks, and the government is prepared to reprise that role.
Putin: Russia has not put forward any new peace proposals after the Ukraine side walked away from peace talks last year.
Putin: Russia is prepared to deliver free grain to six African nations in about two to three weeks, pending the outcomes of negotiations.
Erdoğan: Türkiye is focused on working through issues in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as there is no viable alternative to it for ensuring global food security.
The Cuban government reveals that it had discovered a human trafficking operation aimed at recruiting Cubans to fight for Russia in Ukraine. Full statement below:
Volodymyr Zelensky announces that he is replacing Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. He proposes Rustem Umerov as the replacement. Of note: both Reznikov and Umerov were part of the original negotiating team that engaged the Russian side in February-April 2022.
11 Ukrainian children are released from illegal detention in occupied Kherson. Their release was secured through efforts by the Ukrainian government, the Save Ukraine organization, and the Ukrainian Network for Children's Rights, among others.
Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Emmanuel Macron speak on the phone. Among other things, the two leaders discuss protection of the “grain corridors” following the Russian termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the start of negotiations on the bilateral security guarantees in line with the G7 Joint Declaration of support for Ukraine.
Ukrainian prosecutors announce that they have prevented the supply of one million low-quality food kits to the Ukrainian military. They identified that Defense Ministry officials had corruptly procured the kits through contracts with companies run by family members. The Defense Ministry has been under scrutiny for corrupt acquisition practices, leading to a shakeup of top officials and speculation that Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov may soon be replaced.
Ukraine's Ministry of Infrastructure announces that two merchant vessels have departed Pivdennyi Port in Odesa Oblast via the temporary Black Sea corridor with security guarantees from the Ukrainian Navy.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba participates in an EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Toledo, Spain, where the Ukrainian Peace Formula was among the agenda items. Kuleba posts the following on SNS:
Ukraine's Peace Formula is the largest and most ambitious diplomatic undertaking since the creation of post-WWII security architecture. We are actively working together to fulfil [sic] this gargantuan task, which we discussed today in Toledo with EU foreign ministers.
Ukraine hosts the 7th international meeting on implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula. Over 70 countries are represented in a session that was focused on food security. Ukraine's goal for these meetings is to build towards a global peace summit.
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The bodies of 84 Ukrainian soldiers were returned for an undisclosed number of Russians.
Ukrainian forces use drones to execute an attack against Pskov airport, some 700 km inside Russian territory. The attack damages four IL-76 aircraft and forces a temporary shutdown of the facility.
The government of Türkiye continues its efforts to revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul remains open, and President Erdoğan is planning to meet Putin in Sochi on 8 September with this issue on the agenda.
The UK Ministry of Defense announces that skirmishes have been taking place between air and maritime forces around strategically important gas and oil platforms between Crimea and Odesa. They state the following:
The platforms are operated by the Chernomorneftegaz company, which was seized by the pro-Russian occupation authorities in Crimea during the 2014 annexation. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, Ukraine has struck several Russian-controlled platforms. Both Russia and Ukraine have also periodically occupied them with troops. The platforms command valuable hydrocarbon resources. However, like Snake Island to the west, they can also be used as forward deployment bases, helicopter landing sites, and to position long-range missile systems.
A second civilian vessel departs Odesa for transit through the temporary Black Sea corridor.
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak announces that his office has begun negotiating postwar security guarantees with Canada. This is the third bilateral negotiation to begin (after the U.S. & UK) based on the G7 Joint Leaders statement.
Ukraine's Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak cites Prigozhin's demise as evidence of the futility of negotiating with the Kremlin. Podolyak was part of the team that attempted to end the Russian invasion via negotiations in February-April 2022. He posts the following on SNS:
The demonstrative elimination of Prigozhin once again shows what the "Minsk agreements", Russian "security guarantees" and #Lukashenko's mediation really mean. A good lesson to all the "doves of peace" who still believe in the possibility of negotiating with Putin under the condition of a "ceasefire and arms supply termination." In my opinion, this is an excellent inoculation against stupidity based on KGB patterns.
A private aircraft reportedly carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin explodes midair, killing all 10 passengers and crew. A Wagner-linked Telegram channel (Grey Zone) posts that the small jet was downed by air defenses north of Moscow and that Prigozhin is dead.
Vladimir Putin delivers his remarks at the BRICS Summit remotely as the outstanding ICC warrant prevented his in-person attendance (as a signatory to the Rome Statute, the hosting South African government could not reconcile its responsibility to arrest him if he entered the country). In his speech, Putin states that Russia is willing to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative if other parties fulfill their obligations. The Russian side unilaterally walked away from the deal in July and has threatened the safety of any vessels seeking to transport grain and other products from Ukraine.
Russian state media reports that Vladimir Putin has removed Army General Sergey Surovikin from his post of Air Force Commander. Surovikin was also the deputy commander of the Russian invasion forces in Ukraine but became a liability owing to his connections with Yvgeny Prigozhin.
Montenegro accedes to the G7 declaration on postwar security guarantees for Ukraine.
Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak comments on the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine. Previously, such moves were seen by potential donors as potentially too escalatory, but training in partner countries and provision of equipment is now taking place. Podolyak states the following:
The transfer of fighter jets (F16) to Ukraine is, first of all, about the full understanding by the donor countries (Nordic countries) of the general nature of the war, and this particular stage. It is also about de-escalation, significant reduction of the risks of war expansion, and acceleration of a fair ending. It is about minimizing Ukrainian losses, optimizing offensive operations, and increasing the effectiveness of destroying the Russian occupation group. The countries that are now transferring aviation equipment to Ukraine are openly demonstrating that they are deeply interested in protecting international law, democracy and justice. All of this is possible only if Russia is absolutely defeated. It is extremely important that Ukraine's other coalition partners make similar decisions.
Kosovo accedes to the G7 declaration on postwar security guarantees for Ukraine.
Deputy head of Ukrainian's Agrarian Council Denys Marchuk states that agricultural businesses are contemplating using the temporary evacuation corridors for grain shipments. He notes, "Only one commercial vessel has passed through so far, [and this] has shown readiness to move by alternative routes."
Ukrainian forces state that they have discovered a Russian plan to repopulate occupied Mariupol with up to 300,000 Russian civilians by 2035. The land bridge between Russia and Crimea (along which Mariupol is a key hub) has been a key objective for the Kremlin since the start of the war.
Russian forces strike a theater in Chernihiv, killing six (including a six year old girl) and wounding 148. The attack draws strong international rebuke.
Screen capture from a viral video taken at the moment of impact, 19 August 2023
Romanian Prime Minister Marvel Ciolacu states that his government hopes that around 60% of Ukrainian grain exports could transit through Romanian territory following Russia's unilateral termination of its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This stands in stark contrast to Poland, which has been seeking to restrict grain transport through the country because of the effect it has had on domestic grain markets.
The governments of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia accede to the G7 declaration on postwar security guarantees for Ukraine.
A Russian-controlled court in occupied Donetsk sentences three Ukrainian soldiers to more than 20 years in prison. They were indicted and convicted for acts of violence against civilians.
The first civilian vessel sails from Odesa since the Russian termination of its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Hong Kong-flagged JOSEPH SCHULTE employs a temporary corridor set up to evacuate vessels stranded at Ukrainian ports since the invasion began in February 2022. The vessel left port with 30,000 metric tons of cargo onboard, including foodstuffs.
President Volodymyr Zelensky announces that North Macedonia has become the 15th country to accede to the G7 declaration on postwar security guarantees for Ukraine.
The Ruble reaches a 17-month low against the U.S. dollar. Over the past year, the currency dropped nearly 40% as sanctions and the effects of the prolonged war take their toll on the Russian economy.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announces that the country has repaired 80% of the main power grids and high-voltage stations damaged in Russian attacks. He notes that the government is also working on repairing thermal power stations and hydroelectric power stations, adding, "“We are preparing for winter...We understand the high chances that the Russians will continue large-scale attacks on the energy system.”
Ukraine hosts the fifth meeting with foreign delegates on implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula. 58 countries are represented in the meeting, where they discuss matters related to energy security and security guarantees for Ukraine.
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak announces that bilateral negotiations with the United Kingdom on postwar security guarantees began on 11 August. This follows the negotiations with the USA that took place on 3 August.
Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Ukraine Seymour Mardaliev announces that Azerbaijan's demining experts will train Ukrainian sappers.
Polish Deputy Minister of the Interior Maciej Wasik announce that Poland will deploy an additional 2,000 soldiers to the Belarusian border. This is in response to Wagner's post-Prigozhin activities in Belarus.
In response to questions regarding the Jeddah peace conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova asserts the following conditions for Russia to end the war:
"The original foundations of Ukraine's sovereignty must be confirmed: its neutral, non-aligned, and non-nuclear status."
"The new territorial realities that have developed as a result of the exercise by the inhabitants of the new Russian regions of their right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter must be recognized."
"The demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine."
"The rights of [Ukraine's] Russian-speaking citizens and national minorities must be ensured."
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 22 Ukrainians are returned for an undisclosed number of Russians.
The Jeddah peace conference ends without a joint statement or formal declaration. Ukrainian officials characterize the Jeddah meeting as a continuation of international peace discussions following the Copenhagen conference in June (which included 15 official delegations). Sources from France suggest that India may host the next round of discussions ahead of the G20 Summit in September.
The conference related to peace for Ukraine kicks off in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The following countries and organizations are represented:
Republic of Korea
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Delegates at the Jeddah conference, 5 August 2023
China put to rest any debate over whether it would attend the peace discussion in Saudi Arabia, announcing that Special Envoy Li Hui would be present for the 5-6 August talks:
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The bodies of 44 Ukrainians are returned for an undisclosed number of Russians.
The IAEA announces that its support and assistance mission personnel were granted access to the rooftops of Unit 3 and 4 reactor buildings and turbine halls at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on 3 August. Upon their inspection, they observed no mines or explosives. The IAEA team is continuing to request the ability to inspect the roofs of the other four ZNPP units.
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak announces that negotiations with the U.S. on bilateral security commitments have commenced. He notes that this is the first of the envisioned series of negotiations to follow with other security partners.
South Africa's Foreign Minister asserts that her government is actively working to convince Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative:
Türkiye's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks with Vladimir Putin on a range of topics during a phone conversation, including the need for Russia to return to the Black Sea grain deal.
Russia continues to strike food export-related facilities in Odesa, damaging a grain elevator in their most recent attack.
The Kremlin states that Russia is ready to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative if its conditions are met (namely, reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to SWIFT):
Reports are confirmed that Saudi Arabia will host a peace conference on 5-6 August that includes Ukraine, the G7 and EU members, India, Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa, among others.
The Kremlin acknowledges that Russia has not concluded negotiations over a joint statement with the African Peace Mission that met Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit on 28 July. [Note: they would never actually reach an agreement on a joint statement, which would simply go unpublished.]
Ukraine's Defense Ministry and Turkish defense company Baykar sign a contract to construct and operate a service center in Ukraine for the repair and maintenance of combat drones.
Head of Ukraine's presidential office Andriy Yermak announces that his government will soon begin bilateral negotiations with the U.S. on pre-NATO accession security guarantees. The envisioned agreement is part of implementation of the G7 Joint Declaration.
President Volodymyr Zelensky visited units operating near the frontlines in Donetsk Oblast. This visit comes amidst concerns that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is not achieving the desired level of success.
South Africa's President Ramaphosa and other African leaders meet Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit on behalf of the African Peace Mission. The Kremlin states that they will issue a joint statement as soon as they all can agree on the content.
Vladimir Putin presides over the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg where only 17 African heads of state attend (as opposed to the 43 present at the inaugural summit in 2019). There, Putin promises free grain to six African countries following Russia's termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The International Olympics Committees announces that it will not invite Russia or Belarus to the 2024 summer games in France. They state the following:
In total, invitations to Paris 2024 have been sent to 203 eligible NOCs [National Olympic Committees]. This excludes the NOC of Guatemala, which is currently suspended, as well as the NOCs of Russia and Belarus. The IOC has previously announced that it will take its decision on the participation of individual, neutral athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport, in line with the recommendations for International Federations and international sports event organisers on the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions, at the appropriate time.
North Korea announces that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will lead a delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of Korean War hostilities. Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, North Korea has sided with Russia in UN voting and provided limited munitions shipments to Wagner PMC; however, the country has not provided the level of materiel and personnel support to Russia that could be possible given available resources.
In response to international criticism of the attack against the Transfiguration Cathedral, the Kremlin repeats its pattern of denial, blaming errant Ukrainian air defense missiles:
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemns Russia's missile strikes against the centuries-old Transfiguration Cathedral and other sites in Odesa:
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The two reportedly discuss measures aimed at unblocking the flow of grain from Ukrainian ports and for guaranteeing safe passage into the future.
Energoatom issues a claim that the Russian-appointed "General Director" of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is trying to force plant workers who have refused to sign contracts with Russia's nuclear operator to switch the fourth unit from a "cold shutdown" state to a "hot shutdown" state. This move would be in contravention of regulatory orders from the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine which directed that all six units at Zaporizhzhia be placed in cold shutdown given its position along the frontlines and the breaching of the dam that had previously helped guarantee sufficient cooling water supplies. [Note: the IAEA confirmed on 25 July that Unit 4 was switched to a hot shutdown state.]
EU High Representative Josep Borrell condemns Russia's attacks against Odesa. In a press availability ahead of a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Borrell states the following:
For the third night, Russia bombs and destroys all of the port infrastructure in Odesa [and other coastal cities] and the storages of grain – more than 60,000 tons of grain has been burned. So not only do they withdraw from the grain agreement, in order to [halt the] export the grain from Ukraine, but they are burning the grain. It is the third night [of] massive air attacks against Odesa port and infrastructure that is causing not only civilian casualties, but a big destruction of the grain storage there. This is a barbarian attitude which will be taken into consideration by the Council today.
The U.S. and Ukraine begin discussions on measures to implement grain exports through the Black Sea without Russian participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Russian forces execute missile strikes against known grain storage facilities in Odesa, one of the ports guaranteed safety under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Vladimir Putin signals that Russia is willing to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative if all obligations to Russia under the deal are met:
The Russian Defense Ministry announces that starting on 20 July, it will consider all ships crossing the Black Sea to Ukraine to be military-purpose (and therefore legitimate targets):
The government of South Africa announces that Vladimir Putin will not be participating in the forthcoming BRICS Summit in Johannesburg on 22-24 August. The ICC's outstanding warrant against Putin was the principal factor in the decision.
The 14th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (focused on provision of security assistance to Ukraine) takes place via video teleconference with around 50 countries represented. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov comments on the outcomes:
Ramstein 14 has demonstrated our partners' unwavering support for Ukraine.
Priority: The supply of weapons & equipment urgently required for the liberation of [Ukrainian] territory.
Focus: Air defense, ammo, & armor.
Thank you to my colleagues [Francois Bausch of Luxembourg and Hanno Pevkur of Estonia] for presenting concrete steps for the development of an IT coalition.
Thank you to [Arvydas Anusauskas] and all [Lithuanian] friends for the initiative to create a demining coalition.
Special thanks to a great friend of Ukraine and my dear friend [Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin] for leading an unprecedented coalition against evil.
Together, we are working hard to achieve victory, a just peace and a better future.
A day after terminating its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative--a move that will have a significant impact on vulnerable populations in Africa--the Russian Ministry of Defense attempts to shift focus away by claiming that the U.S. was planning to test unregistered medicines on African populations. The Russians claim that unreleased documents they discovered in occupied Ukraine reveal secret U.S. plans to put Africans at risk as a means of advancing the interests of U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announces that Russia has terminated its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Leading up to this, Russia protested the fact that the Russian Agricultural Bank has not been reconnected to SWIFT.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announces that the U.S. government has decided to allow training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters to proceed as soon as European partners are ready. He states: "The president has given a green light, and we will allow, permit, support, facilitate and in fact provide the necessary tools for Ukrainians to begin being trained on F-16s, as soon as the Europeans are prepared."
Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol makes his first visit to Kyiv. There, President Yoon announces that South Korean support to Ukraine will increase to $150 million.
Presidents Yoon Suk Yeol and Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands during a joint press conference, 15 July 2023
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The bodies of 62 fallen Ukrainians are returned for an undisclosed number of Russians.
Negotiations ramp up as the Black Sea Grain Initiative nears the 17 July expiry. The main sticking point for this round of negotiations is payments to Russia through the Russian Agricultural Bank. One proposal was to establish a subsidiary bank that could be connected to SWIFT with the sole function of processing grain-related payments. The Russian side rejected this, insisting that the Russian Agricultural Bank itself be reconnected. A Turkish source reveals that a potential compromise is a conditional reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to SWIFT solely for the purpose of grain payments. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin states the following: "We can suspend our participation in this deal. And if everyone reiterates that all promises given to us will be fulfilled--let them fulfill these promises. And we will immediately join this deal. Again."
The NATO Heads of State and Government release the Vilnius Summit Communiqué. Among other things, the NATO allies:
Reaffirm that they do not and will never recognize Russia's illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory (including Crimea)
Endorse the Ukrainian Peace Formula as the basis for a just and lasting peace
Remove the requirement for Ukraine to complete a Membership Action Plan so as to accelerate NATO accession [note: no definitive target date for Ukrainian membership is articulated]
Establish a NATO-Ukraine Council for joint consultations, decision-making, and crisis management
Commit to continuing military and non-lethal assistance to Ukraine
Call out Belarus for its deepening military integration with Russia
Reiterate that any use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear Weapons by Russia will be met with severe consequences
Criticize China for failing to address Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine
The G7 leaders issue a joint declaration that sets the foundation for postwar security guarantees for Ukraine. Intergovernmental negotiations with Kyiv on binding security guarantees will commence immediately. The full text of the declaration below is available to download below:
President Volodymyr Zelensky comments on the negotiations related to Ukraine's bid to join NATO. He asserts that ambiguity in alliance commitments will only motivate the Russian side to continue its hostilities against Ukraine. His statement is below:
We value our allies. We value our shared security. And we always appreciate an open conversation.
Ukraine will be represented at the NATO summit in Vilnius. Because it is about respect.
But Ukraine also deserves respect. Now, on the way to Vilnius, we received signals that certain wording is being discussed without Ukraine.
And I would like to emphasize that this wording is about the invitation to become NATO member, not about Ukraine's membership.
It’s unprecedented and absurd when time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine's membership. While at the same time vague wording about "conditions" is added even for inviting Ukraine.
It seems there is no readiness neither to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the Alliance.
This means that a window of opportunity is being left to bargain Ukraine's membership in NATO in negotiations with Russia. And for Russia, this means motivation to continue its terror.
Uncertainty is weakness. And I will openly discuss this at the summit.
Volodymyr Zelensky announces that he will conduct a series of bilateral engagements with partners on the sidelines of the NATO Vilnius Summit, including European nations, the United States, Canada, and Japan.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan speaks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov over the phone. There was no official readout, but diplomatic sources reported that the two deliberated the Black Sea Grain Initiative that is set to expire on 17 July.
During his visit to Türkiye, Volodymyr Zelensky secures the release of five senior officers who Russia refused to repatriate directly to Ukraine. These five POWs were sent to Türkiye last September under the condition that they would remain until the war ended.
Volodymyr Zelensky sits with the five released military officers before they departed for Ukraine, 9 July 2023
Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov comments on the U.S. provision of cluster munitions to support the Ukrainian counteroffensive. [Note: this decision has garnered criticism owing to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.] Reznikov's full statement is below:
We welcome the decision of the US to provide Ukraine with the new liberation weapons that will significantly help us to de-occupy our territories while saving the lives of the Ukrainian soldiers.
Under Article 51 of the UN Charter Ukraine has a universal internationally recognised right to self-defence and thus we have been officially requesting these types of munitions for a long time.
I would like to stress that in exercising our inalienable right to self-defence we will continue to strictly comply with all the international humanitarian conventions signed and ratified by Ukraine.
It is important to note that the russian federation has been indiscriminately using cluster munitions from day 1 of the unprovoked large-scale aggression. In February-March 2022 Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with over a million population, was relentlessly bombarded by russians cluster munitions.
Our position is simple - we need to liberate our temporarily occupied territories and save the lives of our people. For this we need to inflict losses on the enemy - war criminals, rapists and looters - who are occupying our territories. The more losses we inflict on them the more lives of Ukrainian people we will be able to save.
It is in our interest to save the lives of our soldiers. This is why we will continue to do this using all lethal weapons available to us.
Regarding the cluster munitions, we have 5 key principles which we will abide by and which we have clearly communicated to all our partners, including the US. I have personally informed our US partners about these five principles in writing a long time ago.
1. Ukraine will use these munitions only for the de-occupation of our internationally recognised territories. These munitions will not be used on the officially recognized territory of russia.
2. We will not be using cluster munitions in urban areas (cities) to avoid the risks for the civilian populations - these are our people, they are Ukrainians we have a duty to protect.
Cluster munitions will be used only in the fields where there is a concentration of russian military. They will be used to break through the enemy defence lines with minimum risk for the lives of our soldiers. Saving the lives of our troops, even during extremely difficult offensive operations, remains our top priority.
3. Ukraine will keep a strict record of the use of these weapons and the local zones where they will be used.
4. Based on these records, after the de-occupation of our territories and our victory these territories will be prioritised for the purposes of de-mining. This will enable us to eradicate the risk from the unexploded elements of cluster munitions.
The Minister of Defence of Ukraine is by law acting as the Head of the national de-mining agency. In this capacity I will ensure the implementation of the relevant legal framework for the de-mining process after our victory.
5. We will report to our partners about the use of these munitions, and about their efficiency to ensure the appropriate standard of transparent reporting and control.
The Ministry of Energy announces via Russian state media that the Russian government will reduce its supply of oil to markets by 500,000 barrels daily in August through exports lowering.
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 47 Ukrainians (including 2 children) are returned for 45 Russians. During the exchange, representatives from the Ombudsman offices of the two governments meet to discuss further prisoner exchanges, as well as the repatriation of children who were forcibly deported from Ukraine.
Representatives from the two sides' Ombudsman offices discuss future prisoner exchanges, 6 July 2023
The Russian Foreign Ministry expresses that it will not accept compromises on its conditions for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative past its 17 July expiry. The Russian government has since rejected the proposal to restart the Tolyatti-Odesa pipeline, claiming that Ukrainian forces have sabotaged it. They have also rejected the proposal for creating a subsidiary of Rosselkhozbank to connect to SWIFT. Previously, the Russian government has demanded the following:
(1) Connection of Rosselkhozbank back to SWIFT
(2) Resumption of supplies of agriculture equipment, components, and service maintenance
(3) Lifting of restrictions on insurance and reinsurance for goods & transport
(4) Lifting the ban on Russian access to ports
(5) Resumption of operation of the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline
(6) Unfreezing of foreign assets and accounts of Russian companies related to production and transportation of food and fertilizers
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states that Russian occupation forces have stepped up their preparations for creating a man-made disaster at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. This comes as NATO prepares for the Vilnius Summit on 11-12 July.
The IAEA reports that the backup power line to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been repaired after being cut on 1 March. Up to now, the plant has relied upon a single 750 kV line for reactor cooling & other functions.
Volodymyr Zelensky visits Odesa to receive an update on maritime issues in the war. Two of the main topics of discussion was the Russian missile threats to coastal regions and the development of new Ukrainian naval drones.
President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterates his administration’s assessment that Russia intends to cause a nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant if forced to withdraw. He adds the following:
We have been saying for a long time that there is a serious threat. Because Russia is technically ready to provoke a local explosion at the plant, which could lead to the release of dangerous substances into the air. We communicate this very clearly. We are discussing all this with our partners so that everyone understands why Russia is doing this and puts pressure on the Russian Federation politically so that they don't even think about such a thing.
The Washington Post breaks a story reporting that U.S. CIA Director William Burns traveled to Kyiv to discuss plans for ending the war. The report claims that the Ukrainian objective is to retake substantial territory by autumn, deploy artillery and missile systems near Russian-occupied Crimea, and then return to the negotiating table.
In response to the Washington Post article, Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak reiterates Ukraine's position that it will not give up any territory in exchange for a ceasefire or peace treaty.
Head of Ukraine's Presidential Office Andriy Yermak co-chairs the first meeting of the International Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of the War. The International Environmental Group aims to develop a comprehensive document, the "Ukrainian Environmental Compact," to create conditions for reliable environment protections. This effort aligns with the "Ukrainian Peace Formula," which calls for addressing ecocide in the war.Co-chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstrom, the working group focused on three things:
(1) Assessments related to the environmental consequences of the war
(2) Development of recommendations for mechanisms to bring Russia to justice for environmental crimes
(3) Green restoration
The fallout over the Prigozhin rebellion continues as Russian General Sergei Surovikin has remained out of the public eye since the Kremlin published a video of him appealing to cease the mutiny. Surovikin was reportedly arrested for supporting Prigozhin.
Vladimir Putin presides over a memorial and awards ceremony for those who responded to the Prigozhin Rebellion. Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu is in attendance as Putin thanks the service members and law enforcement personnel who responded to the incident.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko addresses the issue of the Prigozhin Rebellion while presenting awards to uniformed personnel. Of note, he states the following:
"I gave all the orders to bring the army to full combat readiness." Without providing additional context, Lukashenko referenced the level of concern given the events in Russia.
"I won't hide it, it was painful to watch the events taking place in southern Russia. I’m not the only one. Many of our citizens took [these events] to heart. Because the Fatherland is one." Here, Lukashenko alluded to Belarus's history as an ex-Soviet Union state with Russia.
"If Russia collapses, we will be left under the rubble, all of us will die." Lukashenko lays bare his view of Belarus's interconnectedness to Russia.
Vladimir Putin addresses the citizens of Russia once again. He denounces the rebellion but states that Wagner forces have three choices: to continue service to Russia by signing a contract with the Defense Ministry or other law enforcement or security agency; to go to Belarus; or to return home. Putin also thanks Alexander Lukashenko for his role in mediating a resolution to the rebellion. The full transcript of Putin's speech is included in the file below:
Vladimir Putin meets with the heads of his security agencies. The meeting is attended by the following people:
Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov
Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino
Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev
Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov
Director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops Viktor Zolotov
Director of the Federal Guard Service Dmitry Kochnev
Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin
The armed rebellion in Russia has been de-escalated, but not before airstrikes against Wagner convoys and aircraft shootdowns against Russian military forces.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko steps in to mediate between the Kremlin and Prigozhin. He leverages his twenty-year relationship with Prigozhin to convince him to accept exile to Belarus.
The Kremlin agrees to drop criminal charges against Prigozhin and allows him to leave the country. Further, the Kremlin announces that it will not take any action against the Wagner fighters that participated in the rebellion, noting that it is in recognition of their achievements on the frontlines.
Prigozhin and Wagner forces halt their advance towards Moscow and leave Rostov without further incident.
Although the Kremlin states that Wagner troops in Ukraine will sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense, there is no confirmation about the future of Wagner PMC writ large, which operates extensively on behalf of the Russian government in Southwest Asia and Africa.
Belarusian soldiers fighting on behalf of Ukraine in the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment and other units release videos appealing to Belarusian citizens to seize the moment and liberate the country from Alexander Lukashenko's rule.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov throws his support behind the Putin regime. He issues a statement via Telegram declaring that Chechen soldiers will help quell the rebellion: "The fighters of the Ministry of Defense and the Russian Guard in the Chechen Republic have already left for the zones of tension. We will do everything to preserve the unity of Russia and protect its statehood. The rebellion must be crushed, and if this requires harsh measures, then we are ready!"
Vladimir Putin issues a recorded statement in which he denounces the rebellion, comparing it to the military coup of 1917. He describes the actions as a betrayal and calls upon all forces to demonstrate loyalty to the state. The full transcript of his speech is available via the file below:
The feud between the head of Wagner PMC and Kremlin comes to a head. Yevgeny Prigozhin accuses the Russian government of corruption and killing its own forces in airstrikes. He states that he is taking an armed force of 25,000 troops to oust the leaders of the defense establishment in Russia. The Kremlin responds by denying the accusation, declaring that Prigozhin has launched an "armed rebellion," calling upon all soldiers to remain loyal to the regime, and initiating criminal charges against Prigozhin.
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The bodies of 51 Ukrainian soldiers are returned for an undisclosed number of Russian casualties.
President Volodymyr Zelensky & advisor Mykhailo Podolyak declare that Russia is planning to trigger a disaster at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant if Ukrainian forces advance too far in their counteroffensive in the region. The Kremlin refutes the claim.
The IAEA comments on reports that Russian occupation forces have mined the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The IAEA recently enlarged its support & assistance team at the plant to ensure safety of the facility.
Mykhailo Podolyak lays out his interpretation of Russia’s interests vis-a-vis ceasefire negotiations: “Russia’s strategic goal today is to freeze the conflict at any cost. The next steps are to ensure internal stabilization by cementing Putin’s regime (elections-24), restoring military capabilities, destabilizing Europe, and preparing for the second round of war. The tools are clear: daily statements about ‘readiness for negotiations’; ‘negotiation’ (freezing) initiatives from third countries; media hysteria about the ‘failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive’; outright nuclear blackmail; massive resuscitation of the pro-Russian lobby in European countries with the theses that ‘we must somehow stop all this’. Calls for a ceasefire are playing someone else’s game with Russian cards.”
Ukraine's Ministry of Defense reports that Ukrainian forces have liberated 8 settlements since the start of the counteroffensive.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg comments on prospects for peace, stating: "We all want this war to end. But for peace to be sustainable, it must be just. Peace cannot mean freezing the conflict and accepting a deal dictated by Russia."
Ukrainian Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov claims that Russians have mined the cooling pond of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa publishes a statement on the African peace mission to Kyiv and St. Petersburg. He notes that both Zelensky and Putin agreed to follow-on engagements with the African delegation.
In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky comments on the African Peace Mission and ongoing counteroffensive. He explains that he took the opportunity to lay out the Ukrainian Peace Formula with the African leaders point-by-point. In discussing the counteroffensive, he notes that the Russians are on a path to self-destruction: "as for the terrorist state. Their only concern now should be how to prepare their society, Russian society, to the fact that they will lose everything they are destroying the future of their state for. Russia will lose the occupied territories. There is no and will be no alternative to our steps for de-occupation."
The African Peace Mission travels to St. Petersburg to meet with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov. In the meeting, Vladimir Putin rebuts several elements of the African peace proposal and claims that Ukraine and Russia had essentially concluded a peace agreement last year, but the government in Kyiv threw it in the "dustbin of history."
NATO announces the forthcoming establishment of a NATO-Ukraine Defense Council. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the details of this new body will be revealed during the Vilinius Summit in July, noting that the ultimate objective is Ukraine’s accession into the NATO alliance.
The delegation for the "African Heads of State & Government Peace Initiative" travel to Kyiv for discussions with Ukrainian officials on the African peace plan. The delegation is composed of the following members:
Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa (Lead)
Azali Assoumani, Chairperson of the African Union and President of Comoros
Macky Sall, President of Senegal
Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia
Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt
Florent Ntsiba, Director of the Cabinet of Congo-Brazzaville
Ruhakana Rugunda, Former Prime Minister of Uganda
The U.S. Senate introduces a bill that will that would authorize the president to seize Russian assets and transfer them to Ukraine for reconstruction efforts. It enjoys bipartisan support as Republicans seek measures for reducing the burden on U.S. taxpayers and Democrats support the president's Ukraine-related policies.
Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak clarifies a few positions vis-à-vis ceasefire negotiations: (1) Russian troop withdrawal is a precondition to renewed ceasefire negotiations (2) Any demilitarized zone must be on the Russian side of the border (3) There must be reparations for the war.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reports from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, where he explains that the destruction of Kakhovka Dam has the potential to impact the plant by depleting water available to cool the reactor. He explains that as long as water at the cooling pond on site is kept high enough, there is no immediate danger.
The Defense Ministers from around 50 countries convene in Brussels for the 13th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The new focus for this session was the provision of fighter jets to Ukraine's armed forces.
Russian authorities begin a trial against defenders from the Azovstal steel complex. Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak posts the following via social media:
The photos of the show trial of Azovstal's defenders in Rostov are nothing but disgusting. Glossy prosecutors and dressed-up jurors with brilliant smiles "judge" boys and girls who look like skeletons after a concentration camp and torture. Such abuse of combatants is an official war crime that has to be properly assessed by the ICC. And yes, tell me, does anyone see any representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the hall?
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi accompanies support and assistance mission personnel during their rotation to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi meets Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. The two discuss the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam.
Volodymyr Zelensky meets with Rafael Mariano Grossi, 13 June 2023 (photo via Twitter @rafaelmgrossi)
The Canadian government announces that it will transfer a seized Russian AN-124 cargo aircraft to Ukraine to supplement the loss of the super-large cargo plane Mriya that was destroyed in 2022.
Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 95 Ukrainians are returned for 94 Russians in the swap.
Ukrainian partisans reportedly cut the railway line in Russian-occupied Yakymivka between the Russian-occupied cities of Dzhankoy and Melitopol/Tokmak.
Russia repatriates 11 Ukrainian POWs of Hungarian descent directly to Hungary. Ukraine's government confirms that this prisoner return was conducted without prior notification to or consultation with Kyiv.
The previously announced African peace mission will visit Kyiv on 16 June and Moscow on 17 June. The delegation will consist of reps from the following countries: Comoros; Egypt; Republic of the Congo; Senegal; South Africa; Uganda; and Zambia.
President Volodymyr Zelensky calls upon the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations to dispatch humanitarian support teams to occupied Kherson to respond to the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam: "But large-scale efforts are needed. We need international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to immediately join the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region. Each person who dies there is a verdict on the existing international architecture and international organizations that have forgotten how to save lives. If there is no international organization in the area of this disaster now, it means that it does not exist at all, that it is incapable of functioning. All the relevant appeals from Ukraine and our government are in place."
An explosion at Kakhovka dam causes a full breach, disabling the Hydroelectric Power Plant and generating massive floods in the surrounding areas. Both Russia and Ukraine accuse the other of attacking and destroying the dam.
The ICJ decides on the admissibility of the declarations of intervention filed by 33 States in the case of Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russia).
The Ukrainian counteroffensive begins in earnest. [Note: The Ukrainian government does not formally announce this; rather, they publish a video noting that they have no intent of disclosing details of the counteroffensive]
Screenshots from the Ministry of Defense-published video, released 4 June 2023
This is the start of the ninth chapter of the ceasefire negotiations. Links to the preceding chapters are here: Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III, Chapter IV, Chapter V, Chapter VI, Chapter VII, and Chapter VIII.