The land for peace deal in Israel hasn’t worked out as well as some may have hoped, but a similar plan has been floated this week that would see Ukraine cede some of its territories to Russia in exchange for NATO membership.
It was suggested by Stian Jenssen, the chief of staff to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, at an event in Norway on Tuesday.
Jenssen said that a number of considerations have been discussed on how to end the 18-month war.
“I think that a solution could be for Ukraine to give up territory, and get NATO membership in return,” Jenssen told attendees.
Ukraine: This Has Been a War for Land
Seizing Ukrainian territory has been one of the driving forces of the war, since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion in February 2022. Though Ukraine has liberated many areas, Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed four Ukrainian territories in September, while Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.
Regaining the occupied territory – including Crimea – has been a war aim of Kyiv’s.
Ukraine quickly dismissed the suggestion that it should cede territory in exchange for peace, or even to join the Western alliance.
“Trading territory for a NATO umbrella? It is ridiculous. That means deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy, encouraging a global criminal, preserving the Russian regime, destroying international law, and passing the war on to other generations,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said via posts to social media on Tuesday.
The advisor further suggested that unless the Kremlin sees significant losses in the war, it would continue to pose a long-term problem for European security.
“Obviously, if Putin does not suffer a crushing defeat, the political regime in Russia does not change, and war criminals are not punished, the war will definitely return with Russia’s appetite for more,” Podolyak added.
NATO was quick to clarify its stance on Tuesday.
“We fully support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as NATO leaders reaffirmed at the Vilnius Summit in July,” a NATO official stated. “We will continue to support Ukraine as long as necessary, and we are committed to achieving a just and lasting peace.”
Russia is Feeling the Squeeze
It was last month that a senior Russian official made the argument the war could end in days if the West stopped arming Ukraine. Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev – who previously served as president of Russia – warned that the war could now last for decades and could even end in “nuclear war.”
It was not the first time that the Kremlin has made such claims, or criticized the West for supplying aid to Ukraine. However, Russia is seriously beginning to feel a squeeze from the war, which at best looks to be a stalemate that could in fact last years.
Moscow is now increasingly under pressure from rampant inflation figures – and this week, the ruble’s value fell to less than a single U.S. cent. Oil prices have dipped this year, while it has become more cumbersome for Russia to sell its oil due to Western sanctions.
Inflation hit 7.6 percent over the past three months, while key interest rates were raised from 8.5 percent to 12 percent at an emergency meeting Tuesday. Though Russia’s economy hasn’t actually collapsed, it can hardly be described as in “good shape.”
Janis Kluge, a Russian economy expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told the Associated Press this week, “This is the closest we came to a real economic problem since the start of the war,” and he added, “Whatever gives the impression of a weak or unstable economy is not welcomed by the Russian government. In Russia, the exchange rate is always seen as the most important indicator of the health of the economy.”
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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