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Opinion | How Not to Negotiate with Russia read full article at

For sure, it didn’t work. Whereas we have been holding again, Russia was increase. The Minsk course of ended when Russia unleashed a devastating complete warfare of aggression on Ukraine on the finish of February 2022.

That’s why your complete worldwide group ought to rigorously examine the teachings of “Minsk” with the intention to restore worldwide peace and safety at present and keep away from falling into new Russian traps.

Listed here are 5 classes we discovered from negotiations with Russia.

Lesson #1: It’s a mistake to freeze the warfare and postpone the answer of territorial issues “for the future.”

The architects of Minsk believed that fixing the established order and lowering hostilities could be sufficient for the battle to step by step ease. This perception, based mostly on a false premise of Russia’s alleged willingness to compromise, led to an actual catastrophe for Ukraine, the European order and the world.

In actual fact, from the inception of the Minsk agreements and all through the Minsk course of, Moscow was getting ready for a full-scale warfare on Ukraine. Whereas Russian representatives saved imitating diplomacy, the Kremlin was quietly increase its army forces and planning to destroy the democratic worldwide order with a single devastating blow.

Lesson #2: Russia doesn’t negotiate in good religion.

The world noticed Minsk as a platform for dialogue and a path to peace, whereas Russia noticed it as an instrument to steadily pursue its aggressive targets and destroy Ukraine by way of political stress and with out the necessity to launch a full-scale invasion.

From the very onset, Russian President Vladimir Putin wished to dismantle Ukrainian statehood. If that was achievable by political and diplomatic means, superb, and he tried to make use of Minsk to erode Ukrainian sovereignty. But when that didn’t succeed, he deliberate all alongside to annihilate Ukraine by brute army power.

The Minsk agreements have been doomed to fail for just one purpose: The Russian regime by no means sought truthful peace and truthful play. Even on the eve of the full-scale invasion, Putin continued to lie straight into the faces of world leaders, denying plans to assault.

Deception lies on the core of Russia’s international coverage and the way in which it treats worldwide companions — each in Europe, Africa, Asia and different areas. Victims, weaklings, henchmen — that is whom Moscow prefers to see on the opposite aspect of the desk.

Lesson #3: Setting apart the de-occupation of Crimea.

Western technique to counter the Russian risk ought to have been based mostly on decisive steps to de-occupy all Ukrainian territories as early as 2014.

Even now, once I say Ukraine goals to completely restore its territorial integrity, journalists typically resolve to make clear: “Including Crimea?” This query makes no sense and solely reinforces the Russian narrative that Crimea is particular. No, it’s not. Crimea goes with out saying. One of many gravest errors of Minsk was to permit Russia to consider that the problem of Crimea was off the desk.

There isn’t a, and has by no means been any, distinction between Crimea, Donbas, Kherson, Kyiv and different areas. Every of them is important for the actual safety of European and world safety. When the West agreed to de facto shut its eyes to Crimea’s annexation, it gave the inexperienced mild to new Russian imperialist encroachments.

Lesson #4: Russia doesn’t reciprocate with constructive language and coverage.

What number of instances have we heard from Russian leaders that they have been cheated or outwitted by others? However that is solely a projection of their very own targets, as a result of for Russia, any victory is somebody’s defeat. Putin’s Russia has been inventing advanced combos to deceive others, and to not discover a frequent curiosity, even essentially the most pragmatic one.

In Putin’s thoughts, any compromise is a weak spot. That is why the one approach to communicate to him is within the language of power. At the moment, Putin has made his ultimate guess by deciding to proceed with a genocidal warfare of aggression on Ukraine at any value. This implies there’s nothing to speak about with him anymore. He made his selection and should be defeated.

Lesson #5: Companions ought to power Russia, not Ukraine, into concessions.

In 2015, Ukraine nonetheless stood on shifting sands. We had simply begun rebuilding our military, components of our territories have been occupied and the economic system had simply begun recovering from the shock of revolution and warfare. Russia had a robust military, levers of power stress and networks of brokers of affect.

A few of our companions thus tried to stress Ukraine to be “constructive,” as a result of we had extra problem saying “no.”

Regardless of all the failings of the Minsk course of, Ukraine adhered to its obligations. Along with France and Germany, we sought a clear settlement and a simply peace. The Russian regime, in its flip, didn’t fulfill a single level of the Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 agreements.

Neither the primary, a full cease-fire, nor the second, the withdrawal of all heavy weapons, nor any additional factors: the permission of OSCE monitoring, the all-for-all change of political prisoners and prisoners of warfare and establishing a world mechanism for the supply of humanitarian help.

Since his election in 2019, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has tried to show the Minsk course of round, drive it out of its lifeless finish, regardless of all its flaws. Underneath his presidency, Ukraine held 88 rounds of negotiations with Russia. Efforts to discover a clear and trustworthy resolution fell on deaf ears within the Kremlin. Russians didn’t desire a settlement, not to mention a simply peace. And Russia was cynical sufficient to demand from others that Moscow’s safety “concerns” ought to be heard.

Now that the Kremlin failed to realize the targets of its full-scale aggression, it’s now making an attempt to outfox Ukraine and the worldwide group. Russia’s newest statements trace at their want to safe a brand new “Minsk” settlement, a brand new entice for the world. However what Russia actually desires is a pause, not peace.

Any hypothetical “Minsk-3” can have just one outcome: a good bloodier warfare, which is able to have an effect on not solely Ukraine, however attract your complete Euro-Atlantic house and the world as an entire. Repeating errors is not going to yield higher outcomes.

No different nation craves peace greater than Ukraine. However we’d like a simply and lasting peace which is able to forestall any new genocidal warfare in opposition to Ukrainians and different nations. That’s the reason Zelenskyy proposed a Peace Method with 10 particular steps protecting the restoration of nuclear, meals and power safety within the pursuits of your complete worldwide group.

If your complete worldwide group takes a powerful, consolidated place, then Russia can have no different choice however to cease its killing of Ukrainians and have interaction in actual substantive negotiations. The united will of the world is essential to efficient diplomacy and reaching sustainable peace for a lot of many years to return.

Moreover, I consider that the voice of the West just isn’t sufficient to unravel the worldwide safety disaster triggered by Russia’s warfare and assure long-term worldwide peace. We now have reached a turning level when the place of the states of the International South may also help obtain this outcome. The destiny of the diplomatic decision of the warfare will depend on the nations of Asia, Africa, the Center East and Latin America stepping up and utilizing their weight and affect. Each voice and each nation is vital, as a result of within the U.N. constitution there are not any “big” and “small” states, influential and non-influential ones, champions or outsiders.

Those that sincerely search peace ought to be part of the consolidated worldwide efforts on implementing the Ukrainian Peace Method. We designed it in a versatile means permitting states to commit solely to these parts of the components which they absolutely share and take management in sure particular areas of peacebuilding efforts with out committing to the opposite ones.

The issues of the Minsk course of should not be repeated. In actual fact, they need to serve for example of how not to barter with Russia. In diplomatic language, “to minsk, minsking” has grow to be shorthand to explain makes an attempt to barter an finish to a warfare which solely brings the other outcome and permits an aggressor to launch a good bloodier and more durable aggression.

Due to this fact, my message at present is easy. Don’t minsk Ukraine and the world once more!

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About Dmytro Kuleba

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