The Ukrainian Peace Formula: content, evolution and diplomatic outreach

February 2024

Entering its third year, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has shifted into a war of attrition, diminishing the prospects of a swift diplomatic resolution any time soon. The multitude of peace proposals from different states, scholars and experts often resulted in neglecting the views and needs of Ukraine itself, thereby risking side-lining or overlooking a broader Ukrainian vision for peace and the post-war settlement.‍

In this context Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his closest advisors have formulated a so-called ‘Peace Formula’, containing Ukraine's perspective on attaining a fair and enduring peace from a Ukrainian perspective. Having evolved from a concise 5-point plan to a 10-point framework in response to various rounds of diplomatic consultations, the peace formula has been presented at and to various regional and international fora including the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Security Council, but also intergovernmental fora, such as the G7 and G20.

In recent months, President Zelenskyy and his advisors have adjusted the ‘Ukrainian Peace Formula’ (UPF) to respond to and take into account the evolving dynamics on the battlefield and increased threats from Russia in different domains. Subsequently, various diplomatic discussions on implementing UPF have taken place in Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and Malta with a variety of national security advisors and diplomats. Ongoing consultations concerning the UPF highlight Ukraine's explicit and concerted efforts to also reach beyond the West, involving nations across Asia, Africa and Latin America, to garner support and raise awareness about Ukraine’s position and proposal.

Zelenskyy has also underscored the wider, systemic implications of the UPF and the potential transformative power for reforming global governance and instigating conversations for a safer world with diminished instances of aggression. Yet, the precise content and diplomatic engagement surrounding the Ukrainian Peace Formula still remains relatively unknown amongst scholars, the wider public and even amongst the Ukrainian population itself.

This GGI Analysis argues that in order to advance a durable peace between Russia and Ukraine more awareness and in-depth knowledge of Ukraine’s own position on a durable peace is needed. The primary objective of this paper is to examine the discourse surrounding the Ukrainian Peace Formula by delving into its core principles and provisions articulated in various speeches by the Ukrainian President and follow-up documents. The analysis will outline the major dimensions of the evolution of the formula, considers its potential and limitations and assesses the evolving international and diplomatic landscape at different phases of its development. The GGI Analysis also critically examines the Ukrainian Peace Formula's wider implications and its potential scope for advancing discussions on reforming global governance in the context of military aggressions. It is hoped that the Analysis can thus serve as a useful backgrounder for interested scholars, diplomats and the wider general public.

This publication is part of our GGI Ukraine Programme. Find out more here.

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