“A proposal for a new Western policy on the Russia-Ukraine conflict: re-position to de-escalate”, Edward Hunter Christie (FIIA, Finland)

As a new threat of war looms, Western leaders need a new security policy position to induce Moscow to de-escalate. This should include specific investments in Ukraine. Indeed, peace is cheaper than war.

The Russia-Ukraine War over the Donbas region is now entering its eighth year. Over time, Western European governments appeared to adopt a ‘never-ending story’ perspective. The Minsk Agreements are unattractive to both Ukraine and Russia, and therefore they will never be implemented, existing sanctions will never be lifted, Russia never leaves, and Ukraine never joins the Euro-Atlantic institutions. Conversely, war is no longer necessary. Moscow achieves its foreign policy objective without further aggression – and Ukraine never becomes strong enough to defeat Russia and so it never tries. In the intervening period, which may last indefinitely, Western European diplomats can ask Ukraine for more reforms while resuming engagements with Moscow on lucrative projects outside the scope of the sanctions, such as Nord Stream 2.

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