The refusal to join NATO and the EU in exchange for peace in the Donbass: the Full text of the notorious article Pinchuk

Отказ от вступления в НАТО и ЕС в обмен на мир на Донбассе: Полный текст нашумевшей статьи Пинчука

The original on the website of The Wall Street Journal

Many Ukrainians are concerned about the new American administration, as it promised a different approach to Russia, which invaded and forcibly annexed the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine in 2014, and then initiated and supported the so-called “separatist” movement, gaining control of parts of Eastern Ukraine. We are also concerned that, against this background, gaining momentum for the opposition movement in Europe and throughout the continent in the elections can come to power leaders who want to make a deal with the Kremlin.

But it is not a solution for the 40 million Ukrainians. Our citizens have shown since the end of 2013 that they will fight if they choose to live in a free, democratic, tolerant and fair country. Those who seek “realistic” solutions, would be well advised to take this into account.

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But the instinctive reaction of many Ukrainians on the new circumstances – to demand the same as before, but with greater intensity and urgency – may not work. In addition to increasingly high-pitched appeals, we must also adapt to a new reality and to encourage our foreign friends to help us.

The new administration in Washington may be an opportunity for Ukraine and may contribute to the decision of the Russian intervention.

Yes, we must defend the fundamental principles of our struggle, the right of Ukraine to choose its path, maintaining its territorial integrity and building a successful country. Moscow should fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements 2014 and 2015, to end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. She should respect the ceasefire and withdraw its fighters and heavy weapons that are still not done.

But it may be part of a wider picture in which we accept painful compromises for peace. Let’s look at the following ideas.

Ukraine should consider a temporary waiver of the membership in the European Union, from this stated purpose in the near future. We can build a European country, to be a privileged partner, and then discuss the accession to the EU.

While we maintain our position that the Crimea is part of Ukraine and must be returned, it should not get in the way of transaction which will put an end to the war in the East on an equitable basis. It will take 15-20 years, during which Ukraine will have to generate sufficient economic growth, stabilize the infrastructure, the social safety net and financial system, everyone in Crimea wants to live in this future of Ukraine, as well as the people of East Germany wanted to become part of West Germany.

The conflict in the East began because of outside influence and is not genuine movement for the autonomy or the civil war. There are not created conditions for fair elections, while Ukraine does not have full control over its territory. But we may have to abandon this truth and agree to local elections. This compromise may mean that Ukraine will fail their residents in the East who have suffered greatly. But if that’s what you need to do to demonstrate Ukraine’s commitment to peaceful reunification, then we may have to make this compromise in order to save thousands of lives.

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We need to focus on helping those who were forced to leave their homes and cannot return to live in oppressive and unsafe conditions, providing them with all possible support to start a new life in a new reality.

And finally, let us recognize that Ukraine will not join NATO in the short or medium term. The offer is not on the table, and if it were, then it could lead to an international crisis of unprecedented magnitude. At the moment, we must pursue alternative security system to recognize the neutrality of our short-term future prospects.

Ukraine will need security guarantees. In the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China provided security guarantees in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear Arsenal. We trusted the agreement, but painfully learned when Russia invaded Crimea, the guarantees are not guarantees.

Ukraine needs to propose realistic, detailed options for all those items. We also need to make clear that we are ready to accept the rejection of sanctions against Russia, they come to a decision on free, United, peaceful and safe Ukraine.

The life of the Ukrainians, who are saved, are painful compromise that I suggested. We must reiterate that Ukraine can solve their problems and to be part of a broad international coalition.

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When I took Donald trump as a speaker via video link at the annual meeting of the Yalta European strategy in 2015, he expressed great respect for Ukraine and the belief that we have not received the support that we deserved. I hope that his sympathy for Ukraine can become the basis for constructive negotiations, agreements, and eventually a peace settlement.

Victor Pinchuk

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