The Platform


Was there really ever any chance for peace between Russia and Ukraine? The answer to this fundamental question is clearly not. Besides, for either side to accept any sort of peace agreement at this stage, the costs would be too high.

The fundamental disagreements are too vast to overcome. Like a broken record, Russian President Vladimir Putin over and over again has claimed that Ukraine must be part of the Russian Federation. For Kyiv and Western capitals, this is unacceptable.

The arguments from the ‘America First’ crowd and Russian apologists that Russia had no other choice but to invade Ukraine in response to Ukraine trying to join NATO or the European Union were simply not true. Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO were thwarted by Brussels, not the Kremlin.

Additionally, Volodymyr Zelensky even promised that Ukraine won’t apply for NATO membership and that any attempts to eventually join NATO will be off the table if Putin withdraws his troops. The West encouraged Ukraine to sign an agreement to permanently cede territory that was occupied by Russia in 2014, but Ukraine didn’t agree, as it’s their own territory.

This war was clearly started by Vladimir Putin. Ukraine and the West didn’t provoke Russia to invade Ukraine. Even before February 2022, the West tried to negotiate with Putin to avoid hostilities but the Russian president rebuked any diplomatic outreach and kept claiming that Ukraine should never have been an independent country and it should have always been part of Russia. If Putin’s issues are with NATO expansion, then why didn’t he attack Poland, Romania, or another NATO member instead of Ukraine? The reason, aside from Article 5 of the NATO charter, is that Putin mistakenly believed invading Ukraine would be a walk in the park.

So, the fact of the matter is that Putin is the aggressor, and he invaded a neighboring country. If the international community accepts this war and collectively moves on to other concerns, then Putin’s aggression won’t stop at only Ukraine. He’ll go much further than Ukraine. The international community must continue to help the Ukrainian people in every possible way. And yes, that means more high-tech weapons because they are fighting to protect their homes and freedom.

Tara Shwan is the Executive Director of the American-Kurdish Economic Institute.