Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, many have been skeptical of the possibilities for diplomatic resolution, and the White House has repeatedly questioned whether diplomacy is possible given continued Russian aggression. At the same time, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has pointed to negotiations as critical, and Turkey and Israel have attempted to mediate the conflict. There have been reports of a Russian diplomatic offer of settlement in exchange for some combination of Ukrainian neutrality and concessions on Crimea and the Donbas, and President Zelenskyy has suggested that the Ukrainian government is willing to come to an agreement on neutrality if it is accompanied by security guarantees. But it is unclear what the practicable details of an agreement for Ukrainian neutrality and security would be, whether Ukraine is willing to compromise on sovereignty issues in Crimea and the Donbas, or whether these territorial issues could be “compartmentalized” and resolved diplomatically at a later date.
What is clear is that the alternative to a peace agreement is a protracted war, which will lead to immense suffering and losses for the people of Ukraine. The combination of the war with Western economic sanctions is also threatening global economic recession, radical increases in food prices, and potential political instability in countries that are dependent on wheat imports. All of these factors create a very strong incentive to pursue a diplomatic path to end the conflict.
Join our expert panel to discuss possibilities of a peace agreement to end the war, featuring Gabrielle Rifkind, conflict mediator and director of Oxford Process, and Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Anatol Lieven, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute, will moderate.