While NATO issued a statement on Friday presenting a united front, echoing President Biden’s unwavering support for Ukraine, officials from Germany, France and Britain reportedly aimed to boost peace talks. Proposed a limited security agreement. The proposed accord between Ukraine and NATO would provide the nation with enough firepower to deter Russian aggression — as well as encourage peace talks between Russia and Ukraine — raising questions about the future of the conflict.
The resolution somewhat contradicts US President Joe Biden’s commitment to unwavering support for Ukraine. In a speech in Warsaw on Wednesday, Biden promised that “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia – never.” His sudden visit to Ukraine and Poland marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion.
NATO’s charter requires unanimous consent to adopt any new resolution, so the trilateral plan is far from a complete agreement. And there has been some greater urgency to offer major support from nations in Eastern Europe that are geographically closer to Russia and potentially themselves more at risk of Russian aggression if Ukraine is to be dealt a crushing defeat and regain all its territory. Must be unable to take.
Liana Fix, Europe Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Vox in an interview that whether the defense deal is directly linked to efforts to negotiate a peace deal is an looming question. But it is an important question, given Russia’s insistence on prosecuting this war despite significant casualties on both sides.
What will the treaty include, and what is its purpose?
France and Germany in particular have been reluctant to put their full weight behind the effort to support Ukraine. Whether it was French President Emmanuel Macron’s willingness to entertain Russia’s security concerns or German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s indecision about sending German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, both countries have supported NATO’s efforts to support Ukraine. Disappointing responses have been provided from time to time. This is in stark contrast to the position of the UK, which has been very open to military support for Ukraine as a whole.
Fix said, “Up until now the UK’s position had been closer to that of the central and eastern European states, while Germany and France were the ones who always had the possibility of negotiations in the back of their minds.” “So it’s a little surprising to see those three countries together.”
The plan, initially proposed by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, would give Ukraine access to advanced NATO weaponry, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sunak has also supported providing fighter jets to Ukraine in the future.
Increased access to NATO arsenals would clearly be a benefit for Ukraine, but it would be limited, should the proposal go through. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Germany-France-UK proposal would not provide Article Five protections to Ukraine. That principle of the NATO charter holds that other members of the treaty are obliged to assist a member nation under attack should that nation request it. Nor would it be a promise to deploy NATO troops to Ukraine; A particular windfall for Russia has been the threat of NATO expansion in Ukraine.
Article V’s security has been of particular concern for other NATO members; If Ukraine becomes part of the coalition and comes under attack from Russia, member states will have to come to its rescue, potentially risking a large-scale, catastrophic ground war – or worse, a nuclear conflict .
The agreement somewhat resembles a continuation of the existing arrangement, ie less Western military support than NATO membership. But Ukraine has already applied to become a NATO member and has expressed its intention to work towards membership during the war. Following its invasion the year before, one of Russia’s initial conditions for the talks was that Ukraine remain neutral and commit to never joining NATO; It is unclear whether the proposed agreement would prevent Ukraine from joining the coalition, although Fix said Ukraine would certainly work to ensure that did not happen. Vox reached out to a NATO spokesperson for comment, but had not received a response as of press time.
The background to the proposed plan, according to French, German and UK officials interviewed by the WSJ, is to promise Ukraine security and access to arms in the hope that such security guarantees will encourage Ukraine to hold peace talks with Russia. Will encourage As Vox’s Jen Kirby wrote on Friday, the pressure for talks appears to be on the horizon:
Right now, the West is ready to give Ukraine what it needs, so that Kiev can take advantage of this special moment. But Ukraine is unlikely to capture all of the territory within its internationally recognized borders, and the war could begin to turn into a stalemate. If it does, it could pave the way for a new kind of Western solidarity: one that supports Ukraine but begins to quietly pressure them to negotiate.
But it is not clear to what extent the two objectives — arming Ukraine and advancing peace talks with Russia — are conditionally linked, Fix said. “It may be that these two issues are discussed at the same time, but I would find it difficult if there was a linkage, and I find it difficult to believe that the linkage would have only resulted in additional defense and security support to Ukraine if it agrees to talks. Rather, it could be that the defense deal is a means to test the waters and set the appetite for talks.
Ukraine, however, is less willing than a year ago to participate in any talks. As Aanchal Vohra wrote in Foreign Policy on Wednesday, Zelensky was willing to give up Crimea once the fighting was over; Now, the Ukrainian military is reportedly planning to retake the territory, which has been under Russian control since 2014.
Is dialogue even possible at this point?
But given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s commitment to go ahead with the war – no matter how much Russia suffers territorially and in terms of military casualties – it’s worth asking whether it is worth asking if it is worth pursuing talks with Putin. It is understandable even for
Russia does not have a good track record of complying with its obligations under international agreements; For example, the country has violated the 2015 Minsk II agreement, which calls for an end to hostilities in eastern Ukraine, the removal of Russian troops there, and the restoration of the territory to Ukrainian control. Moscow scrapped that agreement, claiming that since no Russian troops were involved in the fighting, it was not a party to the conflict.
Putin has portrayed the West and NATO as the aggressors in this conflict and a potential threat to Russia. “They have one goal: to dissolve the former Soviet Union and its fundamental part – the Russian Federation,” Putin said in an interview for state TV station Rossiya 1 broadcast on Sunday, according to Reuters. Putin also claimed in the interview that the West had planned to carve up Russia and control its natural resources, as well as destroy the Russian people.
Gavin Wild, an expert on Russia and senior fellow in the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment, said, “Dabbling down is not only the choice they have made, but it is also, increasingly, the only choice they have left themselves.” Have given.” International Peace, told Kirby last week. “It’s hard for me to understand whether this is self-sabotage or an attempt to understand the West – or America in particular – how much of this existence they have chosen to make of this conflict, and all the growing influence that it entails.”
This potentially opens the door for Russia to use nuclear weapons in accordance with its doctrine, which would have allowed such deployment in case of an existential threat from nuclear weapons, conventional forces, or any other weapon of mass destruction. which threatens existence. of the Russian state.
To that end, Putin is betting again on nuclear escalation by suspending the New START treaty and vowing to deploy new ground-based strategic nuclear weapons systems. The New START treaty was the only remaining nuclear treaty between Russia and the United States; Its suspension raises the possibility that Russia could resume nuclear testing and increase its already massive nuclear arsenal — without US scrutiny.
Given the dire picture Putin is painting for the Russian people, it is unclear whether Russia will be interested in coming to the negotiating table, even if NATO adopts the proposed security pact.
“For Putin, his main chance of staying in power is to continue this war, and to make it a war forever, because he may consider it so closely linked to his existence,” Fix said. “So testing the possibility of dialogue with Ukraine doesn’t mean it will actually be something on the Russian side.”