Peace talking versus peace making

14 November 2022

'Now Ukraïne continues to succesfully regain occupied territories Putin seems willing to negotiate. [...]'

In his article Peace talking versus peace making published on 14 November 2022 in a short time after the liberation of the strategically and symbolicaly important city of Kherson from the Russion occupiers, Advisory Board Member Mykola Riabchuk discusses possible ways resolving the 'Ukrainian question' and shows what alternatives exist. And says: 'Russia fights the collective West, of which Ukraine is believed to be just a proxy; it fights for an equal status with the U.S. – a status Russia thinks it is entitled to (with its duly assigned spheres of influence) but is unjustly denied; Russia fights for a new world order where might makes right and brutal force and nuclear blackmail reigns supreme.'

'Now Ukraine continues to succesfully regain occupied territories Putin seems willing to negotiate. In the West the clamour of 'peacemakers' also is growing. But as long as Putin denies Ukraïne's existence there is nothing to talk about, says Ukrainian political commentator Mykola Riabchuk. Ukraine will continue to fight to completely restore its territorial integrity.

The continued advance of Ukrainian armed forces on the Russia-occupied territories, marked by a recent takeover of the strategically and symbolically important city of Kherson, emboldened Ukraine supporters who demand more aid for the beleaguered country and believe that its victory, i.e., full recapture of lost territories, is increasingly feasible. On the other hand, yet, the Ukrainian advance further unnerves the sceptics who have never got rid of their pinky idea of a 'negotiated solution' to the war in Ukraine as the only possible way out.

The optimists draw their arguments on a (perhaps naïve) belief in international law, solidarity, commitment to the professed liberal-democratic values (freedom, dignity and sovereignty in particular), and increasingly on Ukraine’s resilience, civic unity and patriotic determination to wage the national liberation war as long as necessary.

The sceptics’ arguments greatly vary – from the initial disbelief in the capacity of Ukraine’s statehood and national unity, to more substantiated warnings on the inevitable 'Ukraine fatigue' at the prospect of an energy crisis and economic hardships, and ultimately to the apocalyptic vision of a nuclear Armageddon that Ukrainians may 'provoke' by unreasonable attempts to defend their sovereignty.

While Western 'Ukraine fatigue' and Russian nuclear blackmail indeed are serious problems for further discussion, it is interesting to realise what are the alternatives to these gloomy scenarios. In other words, how that coveted 'diplomatic solution' can be viably outlined and realistically implemented? [...]'