Accessibility links

Breaking News

Envisioning Ukraine's Future

(FILE) A person taking part in a pro-Ukrainian demonstration during the Munich Security Conference.

How far should Russia’s war machine withdraw before peace in Ukraine can begin?

Envisioning Ukraine's Future
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:28 0:00

One year after Vladimir Putin’s armies rolled into Ukraine to start a brutal war, the foreign ministers of the United States, Germany and Ukraine sat down in Munich, Germany for a question-and-answer conference regarding their vision of Ukraine’s future. All three agreed that the war will end when Russia stops fighting and withdraws its troops.

But the question is, how far should Russia’s war machine withdraw before peace in Ukraine can begin? Does the war end once Russia withdraws its troops to pre-February 2022 lines? Or do hostilities cease only after Putin’s army pulls back to its position prior to the February 2014 invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula?

That is up to the Ukrainian people. “We will support the decisions of our Ukrainian friends about the future of their country,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. But “Any peace has to be consistent with the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

“It is fundamentally against the interests of every other country around the world to wind up with a result that somehow vindicates the seizure by force of territory, that validates that,” he said. “Because if we do that, we will open a Pandora’s box around the world, and every would-be aggressor will conclude that: If Russia got away with it, we can get away with it. And that’s not in anyone’s interests because it’s a recipe for a world of conflict.”

What is in our common interest, said Secretary Blinken, is a just and durable peace:

“We have to do everything in our power to make sure that Russia won’t simply repeat the exercise a year, five years later. Among other things, that means making sure that Ukraine has the capacity to deter aggression and, if necessary, to effectively defend against it. So even as we’re doing everything we can to provide Ukraine with the assistance it needs now to deal with the Russian aggression, we have to be thinking – and we are – about what the post-war future looks like to ensure that we have security and stability for Ukrainians and security and stability in Europe.”

“We have no doubt at all about Ukraine’s victory and success. And there’s a simple, powerful reason for that,” said Secretary Blinken. “Irrespective of anything else, including the support that we’re providing, the biggest single difference is that Ukrainians are fighting for their own country, for their future, for their land. The Russians are not. And that will be the biggest difference maker.”