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Main Diplomacy — Volodymyr Fesenko: Our chance to liberate all the occupied territories will most likely only come when there's a severe political crisis in Russia

Diplomacy

Volodymyr Fesenko: Our chance to liberate all the occupied territories will most likely only come when there's a severe political crisis in Russia

11 Oct, 2023
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Volodymyr Fesenko: Our chance to liberate all the occupied territories will most likely only come when there's a severe political crisis in Russia

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The Head of the Board of the Center for Applied Political Studies "Penta," Vladimir Fesenko, discussed the possibility of negotiations to end the hostilities with Russia in an interview with Unian.

"For us, it is important to liberate the occupied territories. Currently, as a society and in the government, we are not psychologically and politically prepared to take a break from the war. Therefore, time is needed in this regard.

We can see that due to the relative stabilization on the frontlines, the situation in the United States, Putin has developed illusions that he won't lose this war. He is intentionally prolonging it, at least until the U.S. presidential elections. Right now, both Russia and we are not prepared for an agreement to cease hostilities. That's why Putin is floating the idea of a possible agreement to the West. But on what terms? Russian terms? That would be unacceptable for both us and the West.

In the future, if such a scenario unfolds, there won't be issues regarding mediators. We can already see competition among potential mediators, including Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, the Vatican, etc. The West will undoubtedly be involved in the negotiation process.

Currently, there is a certain consolidation among our Western partners. There is agreement and coordination of actions, and they understand that they cannot coerce or push us into an unfavorable peace. But if Trump returns to the U.S. presidency, he will disrupt this systematic unity of the Western world. While Trump may want to negotiate with Putin, he could potentially use the cessation of aid as leverage against Ukraine. However, it might end up as it was during his previous presidency. When Putin sets unacceptable conditions in which Trump would appear as the losing party, his ambitions could backfire, and he cannot afford to be seen as taking orders from Putin. Therefore, some compromise may be reached, rather than ending the war on Russia's terms.

Trump's return is not a scenario where we are inevitably condemned to a highly unfavorable peace. But his presidency would likely weaken our negotiation positions and those of the West. Much will depend on how the process of Euro-Atlantic and European integration develops for us.

Regarding European integration, the process is ongoing, and this is an opportunity for us. Prospects of membership can potentially serve as a guarantee of future security. However, with NATO, the situation is more complex. While the war continues, there won't be any chances for membership. But the question of NATO membership, providing us with security guarantees in the form of contractual obligations, financial and economic assistance after the end of the war, and support for the defense industry, could be part of an agreement for the cessation of hostilities. This could serve as an incentive if we agree to such a pause. Importantly, there should be no coercion, and we should receive specific compensation and guarantees during negotiations for the cessation of hostilities. However, at the moment and in the coming months, there are no immediate prerequisites for any negotiations.

Our chance to liberate all the occupied territories will most likely only come when there's a severe political crisis in Russia. One that would divert the Russians' attention away from the war with Ukraine. That's when we might have an opportunity. However, at the moment, to our great regret, the situation is such that there is a balance on the front lines, and neither side has a clear advantage. Our military personnel are highly motivated, but the Russians have more weapons and artillery shells. Last year, the Russians were using over a million shells a month. The EU promises us volumes for a year at that rate.

Russia is living under the illusion that Trump will win in the United States, and that will help them win in Ukraine. In Ukraine, there is hope that something will happen with Putin. Russia wants to intimidate everyone with nuclear weapons, their "nuclear bomb." We're waiting for miracle weapons; first, we hoped for tanks, and now we hope for F-16 fighters, long-range missiles. They can help us, but there shouldn't be any illusions that after receiving them, Ukraine's enemies will surrender, and we will quickly liberate Crimea. Unfortunately, it won't happen quickly. We need to be realistic and not live in illusions. We must prepare for complex scenarios."

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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