Ukrainian Peace Talks With Russia Would Stink of Defeat | Opinion

Published June 6, 2024

The first peace summit for Ukraine is set to be held in Switzerland in a few weeks. World leaders will be discussing the conditions for ending the war unleashed by Russia.

Russia said that it saw no point in attending the summit. However, certain countries are pushing Ukraine toward direct negotiations with Russia, turning a blind eye to the fact that under the current conditions, peace talks would focus solely on the terms of Ukraine’s capitulation.

Those countries present this not as a surrender but as a “freezing” of the conflict, similar to the truce that ended active fighting in Korea in 1953. And the group is growing larger.

When China proposed a broadly worded peace plan in 2023 that called for direct talks between Moscow and Kyiv, it was rejected by both Ukraine and the West for failing to call for Russia to leave occupied parts of Ukraine.

However, time has passed and Western opinion has changed. The world is tired of the war in Europe and is looking for ways to stop it. It’s a situation Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to take advantage of.

On May 15, Putin said in an interview with the Chinese news agency Xinhua that he was ready to hold peace talks with Ukraine, but with Russia’s interests in mind. In other words, he demands that Ukraine give up its claim to its lost territories.



RELATED: Why Zelensky Won’t Be Able To Negotiate Peace Himself

The way out is to transcend bilateral talks to include moves toward a new, inclusive European security architecture.

Published June 5, 2024

The war has escalated into a nightmare for the people of Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of their soldiers have been killed or wounded, infrastructure and environment have been devastated. Ukraine’s chances of achieving any of its hoped for goals are receding and more land is being lost every day.

Furthermore, many of the dynamics that led to the start and the continuation of the war are making it especially difficult to get out of it.

Having nourished the people of Ukraine during the war with promises of maximalist achievements, it will be very hard for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to negotiate an end to the war with less than maximalist success.

Having led Ukraine through the war, Zelensky may be unable to lead them out. To encourage both Ukrainians and Ukraine’s allies, Zelensky promised not only that Ukraine would win back territory up to its prewar borders, but that it would recapture all of its territory to 2014 borders, including the Donbas and Crimea. To negotiate an end to the war without reclaiming that territory but having lost even more would be difficult for Zelensky.

Worse, it would be difficult for Zelensky to even attempt to negotiate an end to the war having decreed that Ukraine would not negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And even if Zelensky were to regroup and rescind the ban on negotiating and preserve the best case scenario for Ukraine, he would be dissuaded by the same ultra-right nationalists who persuaded him off his campaign peace platform prior to the war.



RELATED: Now Is Not the Time to Negotiate With Putin

If Ukraine enters peace talks, it must do so from a position of strength.


Published June 3, 2024

As the Russian military’s slow advances in Ukraine continue, calls for talks to end the war have become common—some made by well-regarded foreign-policy specialists. Their ideas are neither prudent nor persuasive, but they should be examined in good faith rather than dismissed as appeasement.

Those urging negotiations rightly note that U.S. assistance to Ukraine on the level of the latest tranche—some $61 billion for military, economic, and humanitarian purposes—will not continue forever. Sending Ukraine another hefty sum next year will prove an even tougher sell, even if Joe Biden remains president; and if Donald Trump wins, he may end support altogether.

Still, the most recent U.S. aid package, along with the military assistance from various European countries, will enable Ukraine to fight into the next year—nearly half as long as the war has now lasted. Given this war’s twists and turns, the possibility that Kyiv could use it to rebound, while not certain, cannot be ruled out.

We can predict neither what that length of time will be nor the difference the newest batch of Western weaponry will make. Yet it’s important to keep in mind that it has now begun arriving, with the artillery and long-range version of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) already in use.

Some claim that the best Ukraine can hope for is a deal that includes its partition. Even assuming this prognosis proves true, the nature and extent of a partition matters: There are worse and better variants. Ukraine’s ability to negotiate a postwar settlement that it can live with depends on its military performance over the next 18 months or so. In other words, negotiating from a position of strength matters.




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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