There is a new glimmer of hope for a quick negotiated end to the war in Ukraine.
In his recent press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Joe Biden stated, “I’m prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact, there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war. He hasn’t done that yet. If that’s the case, in consultation with my French and my NATO friends, I’ll be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he wants, has in mind.” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman replied that Russia is ready for negotiations aimed “to ensure our interests.”
Now is the time for mediation, based on the core interests and bargaining space of the three main parties to the conflict: Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.
The war is devastating Ukraine. According to EU President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine has already lost 100,000 soldiers and 20,000 civilians. Not only Ukraine but also Russia, the US, and EU—indeed the entire world—stand to benefit enormously from an end to the conflict, lifting both the nuclear dread that hangs over the world today and the devastating economic fallout of the war.
No less an authority than the Chairman of the U.S. Joints Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, has urged a negotiated political solution to the conflict, noting that Ukraine’s chance for a military victory, is “not high.”
There are four core issues to negotiate: Ukraine’s sovereignty and security; the fraught issue of NATO enlargement; the fate of Crimea; and the future of the Donbas.
Ukraine demands above all to be a sovereign country, free from Russia’s domination, and with secure borders. There are some in Russia, perhaps including Putin himself, who believe that Ukraine is really part of Russia. There will be no negotiated peace without Russia recognizing Ukraine’s sovereignty and national security backed by explicit international guarantees of the UN Security Council and nations including Germany, India, and Türkiye.
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