Ukraine’s Peace Formula: global dimension and shared principles

In this publication, we aim to succinctly illustrate the global scope of Ukraine’s Peace Formula and outline the organizational framework and ongoing proposals for addressing the 10 thematic points of this initiative.

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On June 15-16, an inaugural Global Peace Summit will take place in Switzerland, jointly organized by Switzerland and Ukraine. Its objective is to convene a diverse array of high-level international representatives to initiate the implementation of President Zelenskiy’s Peace Formula. This Ukrainian peace initiative, alongside necessary modalities for ending Russia’s war against Ukraine, offers responses to both new and longstanding challenges created by Russian aggression in Ukraine, which have global implications.

President Volodymyr Zelensky first introduced the thematic vision for ending the war during his speech at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2022. The Peace Formula was subsequently presented by Ukraine at the Group of Seven meeting in October 2022, and during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Indonesia in November 2022, President Zelensky proposed an expanded initiative comprising 10 points.

The thematic directions outlined in the Formula cover most areas where Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine has resulted in negative and catastrophic consequences, not only for Ukraine but also in regional and global contexts. The Formula’s points align with the calls and proposals set forth in United Nations General Assembly resolutions, starting with Resolution ES-11/1 “Aggression against Ukraine,” adopted on March 2, 2022, which condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine. In February 2023, Resolution ES-11/6 “Principles of the Charter of the United Nations for achieving comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine” provided a more structured framework for the Peace Formula, linked to the norms of the UN Charter.

Starting from fall 2022, efforts towards implementing the Formula have gained structure and significant substance. Among the themes encapsulated within the 10 points of the Ukrainian peace initiative, discussions at the inaugural summit in June 2024 will cover nuclear and energy security, food security, freedom of navigation, as well as matters concerning prisoner exchanges and the repatriation of civilians and children unlawfully taken from Ukraine.

In this publication, we aim to succinctly illustrate the global scope of Ukraine’s Peace Formula and outline the organizational framework and ongoing proposals for addressing the 10 thematic points of this initiative.



  • Hennadiy Maksak, Executive Director, Ukrainian Prism
  • Yiliia Kazdodina, Senior Fellow, Ukrainian Prism
  • Dmytro Shulga, ‘Europe and the World’ program director, International Renaissance Foundation





1. Characteristics of Ukraine’s Peace Formula

  • Comprehensive thematic nature
  • Relying on the UN Charter and the system of international law
  • From Ukraine’s Peace Formula to a Joint Peace Plan
  • Preventing New International Conflicts
  • Global direction


2. The institutional dimension of implementing the Peace Formula

  • Working groups and ambassador-level meetings
  • National Security Advisors Meetings
  • First Peace Summit
  • Thematic Conferences
  • Second Peace Summit


3. Principles for peace based on lessons learned from conflict resolution with Russia

  • Principles of a peace agreement


1. Characteristics of Ukraine’s Peace Formula

Comprehensive thematic nature

Since the onset of Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine, Ukraine’s Peace Formula has undergone several stages of thematic development and now represents a broad spectrum of proposals for international cooperation in shaping institutional and procedural frameworks to ensure comprehensive, just, and lasting peace based on the principles of the UN Charter and norms of international law.

During his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2022, President Zelensky outlined 5 prerequisites for peace, which stemmed from an understanding of the aggressor’s intentions and actions, as well as the documented consequences of this aggression. These prerequisites include 1) holding Russia accountable for its unprovoked aggression, 2) protecting lives, 3) restoring security and territorial integrity, 4) ensuring security guarantees, and 5) demonstrating resolve to defend oneself.

In November 2022, at the G20 summit, the President of Ukraine proposed an expanded version of these principles, formulating them into 10 points of the Peace Formula, covering the political, security, and humanitarian dimensions of peaceful resolution. The thematic directions of Ukraine’s peace initiative are formulated as follows:

  1. Radiation and nuclear safety.
  2. Food security.
  3. Energy security.
  4. Release of prisoners of war and deported persons.
  5. Restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
  6. Withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities.
  7. Restoration of justice.
  8. Environmental safety.
  9. Prevention of war escalation and recurrence of aggression.
  10. Confirmation of war termination.

Over the past one and a half years, the political and diplomatic work on substantiating the content of the Formula has underscored its unique character and the importance of proposals for rebuilding the global security architecture and reforming UN institutions. International working groups established to support the work on the 10 points have reached a series of significant decisions aimed at restoring the primacy of international law in interstate relations.

Relying on the UN Charter and the system of international law

For Ukraine, the primary goal is to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace based on the UN Charter and key principles of international law. Ukraine’s political and diplomatic stance is built exclusively on the principles and norms of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and other existing international standards and mechanisms that form the foundation of international security architecture. The Peace Formula proposals, informed by Ukraine’s tragic experience, suggest modernizing and reforming current international rules to end violations of international law principles and norms, ensure accountability for these violations, and prevent their recurrence by Russia or other violators in the future.

It is important to note that the 10 points of the Peace Formula were not chosen randomly. First, all the issues addressed by these thematic points have been experienced firsthand by Ukraine, suffering from the war initiated by Russia in 2014. Second, they are all based on international law norms and the principles of the UN Charter. Each of these points reflects resolutions already voted on by the UN General Assembly since 2014, where Ukraine and international partners have consistently drawn the world’s attention to Russia’s crimes and lawlessness. In the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/262 of March 27, 2014, “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine,” the international community demanded that Russia refrain from actions aimed at undermining Ukraine’s national unity and territorial integrity.

Among the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly since the beginning of the full-scale aggression, the following should be singled out:

  • ES-11/1 of March 2, 2022, “Aggression against Ukraine”: The General Assembly members called on Russia to immediately cease the use of force against Ukraine, fully and unconditionally withdraw all military forces from Ukraine’s territory within its internationally recognized borders and reverse the decision regarding the status of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • ES-11/2 of March 24, 2022, “Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine”: This resolution demands that the Russian Federation stop attacks on civilian objects and civilians, protect the civilian population, including humanitarian personnel and journalists, and safeguard medical staff and infrastructure, critical civilian infrastructure, and ensure the protection and establishment of humanitarian corridors for civilians leaving conflict zones. It condemns violations of international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocol of 1977.
  • ES-11/3 of April 7, 2022, “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council”: Expressed grave concern at the ongoing gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, and decided to suspend the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the UN Human Rights Council.
  • ES-11/4 of October 12, 2022, “Territorial integrity of Ukraine: defending the principles of the UN Charter”: The General Assembly members condemn Russia’s attempts to illegally annex the occupied territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine. The resolution calls on Russia to immediately reverse the decision to change the status of Ukrainian territories and to withdraw Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.
  • ES-11/5 of November 14, 2022, “Promoting accountability and reparations for aggression against Ukraine”: This resolution acknowledges that Russia must be held accountable for all violations of international law in and against Ukraine, including reparations for the harm caused by such actions. It proposes initiating a compensation mechanism, including the establishment of an international Register of Damage.
  • ES-11/6 of February 23, 2023, “Principles of the UN Charter underlying a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine”: The resolution calls on UN members and international organizations to intensify diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine. It reiterates the demand for Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from Ukraine and cease military actions. The document emphasizes the humane treatment of prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, the exchange of prisoners, and the release of illegally detained and deported individuals, including children. It also stresses the need to uphold international humanitarian law, protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and ensure accountability for serious crimes committed in Ukraine. Additionally, it urges UN member states to unite in addressing the global challenges posed by the war, including food, financial, energy, and nuclear security.

Furthermore, during the development and implementation of individual points of the Peace Formula, the Ukrainian side holds consultations and actively cooperates with such UN institutions as the International Court of Justice, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UNESCO, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and others.

Overall, Ukraine’s peace initiative differs from alternative plans proposed by foreign states by prioritizing the restoration of territorial integrity and sovereignty, ensuring justice, and relying on adherence to the norms of the UN Charter.

From Ukraine’s Peace Formula to a Joint Peace Plan

Having launched aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and escalating it in 2022, the Russian Federation has shown it does not seek peace. It disregards UN General Assembly Resolutions and International Court of Justice order of 16 March 2022 that demand Russia immediately cease its aggression and withdraw troops from Ukraine. Instead, Russia continues military actions, committing crimes against humanity and genocide against Ukrainians. Its leadership rhetoric reveals a lack of genuine interest in real negotiations, insisting on Ukraine’s capitulation and making absurd and unacceptable demands for Ukraine to renounce its sovereignty. In these circumstances, Ukraine’s right to self-defense is undeniable, as is the right of all peace-loving nations to support Ukraine in exercising this right.

Nevertheless, this war, like any other, must eventually end through diplomacy and peaceful resolution. The question arises: who should propose the diplomatic path to peace, and how can it gain broad support? It is crucial, as stated in UN General Assembly Resolution ES-11/6, that the resulting peace be comprehensive, just, and lasting.

Ukraine, as the victim of Russian aggression, has the clearest understanding of the modalities for future relations with Russia that can ensure a durable and long-lasting peace. Ukraine also understands what steps the international community can take to help achieve a just peace. Therefore, Ukraine’s right to propose the terms of peace negotiations is fundamental. This is perhaps the first instance in modern diplomatic practice where the victim of aggression, rather than the aggressor or an intermediary, is proposing the terms of future peace. This Ukrainian position deserves the support of all who believe that international peace and security should be upheld not by the might of the strong, but by the power of international law.

The Ukrainian side respects various peace initiatives that periodically emerge in the information space but emphasizes that the war in Ukraine resulted from unprovoked aggression and unfounded territorial claims by Russia, which previously recognized Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity in bilateral treaties.

Ukraine is interested in ensuring the broadest possible legitimacy for the future joint peace plan, built on Ukraine’s Peace Formula. One of the outcomes of the Global Peace Summit should be a joint peace plan developed with the participation of a majority of the world’s nations. The discussions and expert work within the working groups of the Peace Formula can serve as a solid foundation for finding effective solutions.

Preventing New International Conflicts

In proposing this peace initiative, Ukraine is based on several important premises. First, a war must end with negotiations for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace. Currently, there are no preconditions for initiating peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, as the Russian leadership intends to continue its aggressive war, territorial seizures, and destruction of the Ukrainian nation. However, to conclude the largest international armed conflict in Europe since World War II, substantive and procedural solutions must be prepared for when Russia is ready to come to the negotiating table. Second, as the war continues, other foreign countries and entire regions are also suffering material and humanitarian losses due to Russia’s unlawful actions and the consequences of other international conflicts.

The war against Ukraine has a specific nature that partly explains why current mechanisms fail to resolve this international armed conflict. The Russian war against Ukraine was officially recognized as aggression by the UN General Assembly. This conflict differs from many others worldwide in that the culpability of one side is clear and unjustifiable, and it blatantly violates the fundamental principles of the international system built on UN principles. Unlike most other armed conflicts, this is not an internal conflict where external forces support different sides; it is not a military intervention or external support for separatists. This is a full-scale war involving occupation and attempts to annex sovereign territories, as well as an attempt to completely destroy a UN member state (and one of its founders), whose sovereignty and territorial integrity were recognized by the entire world, including the aggressor itself for two decades before attacking in 2014. There is no ambiguity here; it is clear who is right and who is wrong. Therefore, unlike many other conflicts, Russia’s actions against Ukraine have been recognized by the UN General Assembly as aggression.

This is an unprovoked war, where the aggressor is a nuclear state, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Ukraine, as a smaller non-nuclear state currently not part of any collective defense alliances, must seek protection and justice within the international legal system and mandates of international organizations.

Therefore, Ukraine proposes the joint creation or activation of international mechanisms applicable in international armed conflicts where the participants have designated statuses as aggressor and victim. The Ukrainian side and international partners suggest ideas to reduce the risks of nuclear terrorism and blackmail, maintain operational food corridors, and uphold freedom of navigation, as well as assess and calculate environmental damages from aggression. Ukrainian authorities and civil society are practically developing mechanisms for documenting a significant array of war crimes, creating registries for recording damages from aggression, and developing corresponding compensation mechanisms. Appealing to partners and UN members, Ukraine proposes practical innovations in international law.

Global direction

The peace formula from the outset has a global orientation, aimed at addressing the large-scale crises and risks engendered by Russia’s actions for the world at large. Advancing specific thematic directions at both expert and political levels could pave the way to preempt potential aggression threats elsewhere, thereby fostering a more predictable and equitable international relations system.

At the level of proposing solutions to restore the rules based international order, a coalition of interested and capable states is needed, which feel responsible for the future of the world.

Ukraine’s Peace Formula does not propose a fundamentally different, alternative global security architecture, but it is an opportunity to ensure the effectiveness of the existing architecture – in particular, the UN as a key global organization for peace support worldwide. Accordingly, it is not only a mechanism for solving the Ukrainian problem but also an opportunity to use the case of Russia’s war against Ukraine to restore the effectiveness of the UN Charter, which is in the interests of the absolute majority of UN members.


2. The institutional dimension of implementing the Peace Formula

Working groups and ambassador-level meetings

Ukraine’s peace formula has been actively pursued for nearly a year under the general coordination of the Office of the President of Ukraine. In 2023, efforts began to institutionalize and strategize the implementation of the Peace Formula. This involved defining the thematic scope of each of the 10 points, forming international working groups, identifying co-chairing countries or organizations, and preparing activity plans for each direction.

In 2023 alone, there were 10 meetings between Ukrainian institutions and foreign partners at the level of ambassadors accredited in Ukraine. Each meeting corresponded to a specific thematic direction. In December, the last of the 10 planned meetings took place, dedicated to point #10, “Confirmation of the End of the War.” As a result of the ambassador-level meetings in Kyiv, concrete plans for implementing the points of the Peace Formula were developed, and international working groups were formalized. These groups included foreign diplomats and members of relevant Ukrainian government institutions responsible for the technical aspects of preparing the implementation of the 10 points. Depending on the interests or capabilities of foreign partners, the working groups vary in size and representation.

National Security Advisors Meetings

The next coordination level for implementing the Peace Formula involves meetings of national security advisors. These meetings address more strategic issues and agree on mechanisms and implementation proposals for the Formula, prepared by the working groups.

As of May 2024, there have been five meetings at the level of national security advisors and political advisors to world leaders: in Copenhagen, Jeddah, Malta, Davos, and Doha. In Jeddah in August 2023, the Ukrainian side shared ‘Ukraine’s Formula Philosophy’ explaining the content of each of the Formula’s 10 points. The meetings in Malta and Davos were particularly significant, as they featured presentations of 10 draft thematic activity plans and specific tasks. The meeting in Davos in January 2024 essentially concluded the cycle of purely expert work on the proposals.

The global dimension of the proposed initiative is already evident in the active involvement of dozens of foreign countries in the various thematic working groups of the Formula. For example, the ambassador-level meeting in December 2023 and the gathering of political and security advisors in Davos had over 80 participants in total.

First Peace Summit

The next step is the inaugural Peace Summit, where Ukraine and its partners aim to establish a high-level discussion platform to politically launch the proposals developed during the working groups, ambassador-level meetings, and national security advisors’ sessions.

The political legitimization of proposals and mechanisms aimed at preventing global catastrophes related to the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine, as well as other ongoing or potential international armed conflicts, is crucial. The Global Peace Summit, scheduled for June 2024, is a planned step that aligns with the transition from expert work to political consultations and decisions.

The first meeting aims to bring together states committed to the principles of sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of states within their internationally recognized borders. Ukraine and its Peace Formula partners understand the challenges of finding common ground at global forums, where participants have diverse foreign policy projections and national interests. Ensuring the representation of states from all continents is vital for the political support of the Peace Formula. Involving regional leaders in this process can send important signals to other countries in their respective regions.

The minimum common denominator must be respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine by the participants of the inaugural Global Peace Summit. Subsequently, each country can choose the topics where its potential can contribute to a collective added value. Essentially, an a la carte approach increases the flexibility of the Formula and allows partners to focus on their strengths in specific areas.

It is also expected that the first inaugural Peace Summit at the level of state leaders will launch the work on a special document – a plan for achieving a just peace in Ukraine based on the points of the Peace Formula.

For the June summit, Ukraine has agreed with its partners to include several thematic areas on the summit’s agenda, including nuclear and energy security, food security, and freedom of navigation in the Black Sea, as well as the exchange of prisoners according to the “all for all” formula. These humanitarian and security issues are potentially the most consensus-driven for representatives from different regions of the world.

Work is currently underway on a document that could be the outcome of the first Peace Summit. This could be a joint communiqué or a declaration following the summit. The draft declaration is being elaborated by the Ukrainian side with the help of co-organizers from Switzerland.

Thematic Conferences

Simultaneously, Ukraine and its international partners do not rule out holding international thematic conferences at the governmental and non-governmental levels to refine or supplement the proposed peace plan. These expert discussions could lead to adjustments or enhancements of the peace framework. Such thematic events may take place in the capitals of the countries leading the respective working groups. Given that the previous work at the level of working groups and meetings of advisors and ambassadors was mostly conducted in a closed format, these thematic conferences will provide opportunities for the expert community to actively participate in discussions on specific thematic initiatives.

Second Peace Summit

Despite some countries emphasizing the necessity of inviting Russia, the framework for implementing the Peace Formula does not currently foresee this possibility. Initially, the participants of the first political gathering are to be those countries that respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Additionally, it is questionable what constructive mechanisms could be expected from an aggressor that has violated all possible UN principles showing blatant disregard for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. The aggressor’s fate should depend on the majority of the world’s countries willing to respond with the force of law to the force of might. Inviting Russia would lead to destructive behavior aimed at undermining all initiatives to strengthen international legal mechanisms.

Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of the peace initiative is to achieve comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine, which will eventually necessitate negotiations with Russia. The Peace Formula clearly outlines the stage and conditions under which this can happen. According to the philosophy of the Peace Formula, once the peace plan from the first Global Peace Summit is sufficiently developed, Ukraine and its partners intend to organize a second Peace Summit.

At this summit, a representative of Russia may be invited if two conditions are met: first, all participating countries must be ready to ensure the joint implementation of the agreed peace plan and its execution. Second, Russia must demonstrate its willingness to negotiate under fair conditions. Ukraine may also consider a format similar to the “Grain Initiative” agreement, where decisions are made with the assistance of guarantors and mediators. However, a crucial element here will be the united stance of the participating states from the first Summit on how to exert influence on Russia to ensure its genuine participation in the process.

Currently, Ukraine has not set the time and place for the second summit. However, the Ukrainian side is open to considering the possibility of holding such an international event in partner countries outside the Western world.


3. Principles for peace based on lessons learned from conflict resolution with Russia

Today, it is obvious that Russia is not willing to negotiate seriously, which, among other things, has as its prerequisite the absence/insufficiency of international mechanisms of influence/pressure on Russia to force it to peace. All the recent previous political experience allows the Russian leadership to hope that any illegal actions will not be met with real opposition from all other UN members. For example, Russia occupied and annexed Crimea without any serious reaction from the UN (the UN GA resolution supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Crimea, but without any measures to influence Russia to stop the occupation and attempted annexation). In the subsequent armed conflict in the Ukrainian Donbas, the Russian Federation signed the Minsk Agreements on a peaceful settlement mediated by Germany and France, but numerous negotiations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on their implementation, starting with point No. 1 on a ceasefire under OSCE monitoring, never worked, and on February 24, 2022, they were finally buried.

Therefore, the vision of the expected parameters of the end of the war should be based on Ukraine’s extensive negative experience of trying to resolve conflicts with Russia, as well as lessons from the countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, and from other parts of the world. 

In general, it is worth starting with the fact that by attacking Ukraine and attempting to annex Ukrainian territories, the Russian Federation violated the UN Charter, OSCE principles and all basic norms of international law, including those in the decisions of the UN Security Council (for example, during the consideration of the recognition of Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the UN Security Council in 1993 after the provocative statement of the Russian parliament).

Moreover, the Russian side deliberately blocks the activities of international universal organizations and regional initiatives aimed at creating conditions for de-escalation or settlement of the conflict. The constant abuse of Russia’s role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is illustrative of this. For example, the Russian Federation uses the veto power the most of all: Russia has vetoed 38 out of a total of 61 UN Security Council decisions not adopted through vetoes since 1991, and since 2014 – 29 out of 36 vetoed UN Security Council decisions. These are the issues of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (DPRK, non-proliferation in space), blocking the resolution on the establishment of a tribunal to investigate the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17; recognizing the massacres in Srebrenica as genocide and a prerequisite for national reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; responding to the political and humanitarian situation in Venezuela; peaceful settlement in Mali; strengthening the sanctions regime against the DPRK, as well as 17 resolutions on Syria. In other words, these are systematic actions to destroy international peace and responsibility for violations of international law – not only in Ukraine but throughout the world. And this is the first important lesson for understanding the boundless cynicism of Russia’s abuse of international mandates. 

The second lesson is that one cannot rely on any agreements with Russia or statements by the Russian government as a guarantee of fixed terms. Russia has also ignored its own positions on respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, in particular, those enshrined in the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation (1997) and the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian-Russian State Border (2003). In pursuit of its vested interests, the Russian side is ready to violate fundamental bilateral treaties with Ukraine and other states. The absence of mechanisms to bring to justice for violations of bilateral agreements has made it possible for Russia to ignore and violate its obligations to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine with impunity.  

The third lesson is related to time. Unless clear time parameters are specified, Russia tends to delay decision-making on the bilateral agenda in areas where it wants to dictate its political conditions. For example, it was only in 1997 that Russia agreed to sign the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, linking its signing to the formation of favorable conditions for itself in the post-USSR division of the Black Sea Fleet. Also, not wanting to lose the tool of using its territorial claims to Ukraine, Russia delayed the preparation and signing of the agreement on the state Russian-Ukrainian border in every possible way. The bilateral document was signed only 13 years after Russia and Ukraine declared their independence, and the demarcation of the border was delayed for many more years. The absence of a clear timeframe allows Russia to manipulate the negotiation process and avoid fulfilling its obligations. Thus, since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine in 2014, more than 200 rounds of negotiations have been held between Ukraine and Russia, as well as pro-Russian proxy actors, which have not led to any political progress in resolving the armed conflict. All this time, Russia has been waiting for the internal political situation in Ukraine to change, and without any significant success, it launched a full-scale aggression in 2022. 

The fourth lesson is that Russia tries to avoid punishment for its aggression or violation of international norms by shifting responsibility as a party to the conflict to illegal paramilitary groups affiliated with Russian state structures or political proxies (puppet formations in the occupied territories). Depending on the scale of the conflict, Russia may also hide behind representatives of Russian regional and municipal authorities, as it did in 2003 during the conflict over the Ukrainian island of Tuzla. 

The fifth lesson is that Russian military bases and armed forces, which remained on a temporary basis in the territory of neighboring states, led to the participation of these troops in the implementation of aggression against independent states. Due to the presence of Russian troops in Moldova and Georgia since the 1990s, these countries have not yet regained sovereignty over their territories. The Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Ukrainian port of Sevastopol took part in the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, as well as in the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.  Russia does not fulfill its international obligations to leave the territory of independent states voluntarily.  For example, although the hot phase of the conflict in Moldova ended with the 1992 ceasefire agreement, the Russian army did not leave the territory of Transnistria and is still illegally present there, despite the OSCE decisions in Porto (1999) and Istanbul (2001). The OSCE itself is not allowed to monitor Soviet ammunition depots in the village of Kovbasne in Transnistria. Russia is interested in the indefinite presence of its military formations in conflict zones to constantly generate instability and readiness for further aggression. 

The sixth lesson is that Russia is ready to unilaterally violate agreements on the activities of international coordination mechanisms established to build confidence and ensure coordination of joint actions in war-torn areas at its discretion. In December 2017, Russia withdrew its representatives from the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire and Stabilization of the Contact Line, significantly undermining the work under the Minsk Agreements. In July 2023, Russia withdrew from the Joint Coordination Center of the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative at its own selfish discretion, thereby threatening the humanitarian food corridor’s continued existence. 

The seventh lesson: Russia does not take tactical ceasefire agreements and temporary truces as binding. For example, since the beginning of the occupation of the ORDLO (temporary occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions) and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, even temporary tactical ceasefire agreements have not yielded results, and Ukrainian military and civilians have been killed. One of the conditions of the Minsk-2 Accords, signed by the leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia in February 2015, was a comprehensive ceasefire. It has been violated  by the Russian side immediately. The last attempt at a complete and comprehensive ceasefire on July 27, 2020, which was violated half an hour after it was announced, is illustrative, and in total, more than 2,000 hostile attacks were recorded in the year from July 2020 to July 2021. 

The eighth lesson is that any security guarantees from Russia to Ukraine, even in international agreements, are worthless. Russia was unwilling to provide any guarantees to Ukraine in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons in the early 1990s. When Russia signed the Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1994 under pressure from the international community, the first Russian-Ukrainian conflicts proved that there were no mechanisms to force Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Principles of a peace agreement

The vision of the content of the agreement on the end of the war should be based on the lessons learned by Ukraine in unsuccessful attempts to resolve conflicts in its relations with Russia. The list of necessary parameters of the agreement was proposed for the meeting of national security advisers in Davos (Switzerland) in January 2024. 

During the presentation, the Ukrainian side emphasized that the treaty should confirm the end of the war

  1. Should be based on the general thematic basis of the points of the Peace Formula, be comprehensive and include all areas covered by Russia’s war against Ukraine. 
  2. The signatories to the agreement should include not only Ukraine and Russia as direct parties to the conflict, but also the guarantor states. 
  3. The terms of the treaty should contain clear mechanisms of guarantees, and the language should exclude vague wording and ambiguities
  4. The treaty should be legally binding and ratified by the parliaments of the signatory states.  

The basis of the treaty should be the developments of the previous nine points of the Formula, which provides for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, restoration of territorial integrity, restoration of internationally recognized borders, compensation by Russia for the damage caused, and prosecution for the crime of aggression and war crimes.



Today, the Peace Formula is the only systemic proposal that considers the vision of a just and lasting peace on the part of the victim state, but at the same time offers ideas on mechanisms to prevent and stop harm caused by large-scale wars and armed conflicts. That is why it is important to hear international solidarity from the participating states of the Global Peace Summit on nuclear, food security, freedom of navigation and the humanitarian dimension of war. 

It should be borne in mind that the case of the Russian-Ukrainian war is unique in that the aggressor is a nuclear power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The peace formula attempts to find a common mechanism to influence such an aggressor state. Accordingly, the success or failure of these efforts will be a precedent that will determine the further evolution of the world system – either towards strengthening international law, which the strongest states will also have to respect, or towards strengthening the right of force and impunity for any actions of the “great powers,” as it has already been the case in human history. Although problems with the lack of respect for international law on the part of the “big players” have arisen before, in the case of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which was condemned by the international community and did not bring the aggressor the quick, stunning factual successes expected on the battlefield, there is a chance to achieve defeat and punishment for such an aggressor.

This aggressive war sets a very bad precedent. If it is not stopped and the aggressor is not punished, the crisis of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the trend of increasing arms spending, and the growing number of armed conflicts will affect everyone. The key conclusion for the entire international community should be that attempts to find understanding and compromise with the current leadership of the Russian Federation are doomed to failure. Therefore, the international community must find the strength to force the Russian Federation to comply with the UN’s demands – in particular, the demands enshrined in UN resolutions to immediately stop aggression and hostilities and withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine. 

The best way to end the war is for the international community to put concerted pressure on Russia to restore the principles of international law as the basis for international relations. Small countries should be primarily interested in this. Also, countries that claim regional leadership and want to have a powerful voice in international global politics should demonstrate their active position in support of international law. In general, any country that considers itself a player in international politics should be involved in diplomacy to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine.


The discussion paper is prepared within the framework of ‘Strengthening Ukrainian expert voice in the European Union and EU member states and partners’ project, supported by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Open Society Foundations. Its content is the exclusive responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of Foundation Open Society Institute or the Open Society Foundations

This paper is based on a series of expert discussions and expert survey engaging Ukrainian think tanks, NGOs, and expert community held in April – May 2024.