Is a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine possible? And on what basis? “The rising death toll in Ukraine has forced President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider concessions to Russia to end the devastating conflict, but the exact elements of any peace agreement that can be discussed with Moscow remain a mystery,” the Washington Post wrote. The West questions Kyiv’s intentions, and where the conflicting signals come from. Moreover, the agreement will have repercussions for European security, and some countries on the eastern side of NATO fear a deal that could hand too much to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. “I am ready for dialogue, not surrender,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with ABC. And on Tuesday, when he received the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Kyiv, he “showed little interest in a negotiated deal, saying that Ukraine should fight until Putin changed his demands,” a diplomat familiar with the matter said. But at the same time, Ukraine’s chief negotiator, Mikhailo Podolyak, sounded more optimistic about a possible deal. According to American and European sources, it is possible that Zelensky and his advisers have not yet come to a final conclusion on what to give him.
On the one hand, there are pressures to reduce the suffering of the civilian population, while on the other, Zelensky was able to unite his people in resisting the invasion. Should an agreement be reached, the Ukrainian president would have to persuade his people to accept the agreement, a difficult task if he were to make important concessions to Moscow, which would risk passing as treason. Renouncing NATO membership, which Zelensky alluded to, must in any case be approved by a large majority in Parliament, given that this aspiration is enshrined in the constitution. Moreover, any potential agreement that leads to the lifting of sanctions must be approved by the West. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made it clear that the withdrawal of the Russians from Ukraine would not be enough, because the United States wanted an “irreversible step”, and the assertion that aggression “cannot be repeated.” “If Putin brings at the end of all this something that is not a clear defeat, it will destabilize Europe and international security in a way not seen since World War II,” comments Jonatan Vsefiev, Estonian Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs. Ministry..
One solution might be Ukraine’s renunciation of NATO membership in exchange for the return of the breakaway republics under its control. “But the question is whether Putin is able to reach an agreement that may look like a defeat,” a European diplomat notes. Meanwhile, the Westerners see no signs that Russia will halt its offensive. They wonder why Russia is so optimistic about the progress of the negotiations. Washington Post sources differ between two possible explanations: the first is that Moscow seriously wants an agreement to lift sanctions, and the second is that it wants to create an impression of seriousness to avoid further sanctions.
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