How About This For A Ukraine Peace Plan

Ever since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis politicians have argued over how to solve the problem and prevent an all-out war between Russia and the West, but none of it is going anywhere. Each time someone opens their mouth we edge a little closer to war without a proper solution in sight. As I see it, and I am by no means an expert, it would seem that a little basic common sense would solve the issue.

Let us first take a look at the Russian side of things. It is clear that Russia first of all wants to retain and protect its naval base in Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Russian Naval Base Sevastopol

Russian Naval Base Sevastopol

The land and port have been leased by Russia since 1997, but in 2008 the Ukrainian government informed Russia that when the lease expired in 2017 it would not be renewed. Russia then threatened to increase the price of natural gas upon which the country depended, and finally the government relented, extending the lease to 2042.

Murmansk Naval Base

Murmansk Naval Base

The base is important to Russia because it is the only ‘warm-water’ port for their naval fleet, the other major bases being Murmansk in northern Russia in the Arctic Circle, and Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Russia. Strategically speaking, Sevastopol is the only base within easy striking distance of European, Middle East and African countries, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic. It is vitally important  to the Russians for this reason. It would however make things extremely difficult for Russia if the Ukraine were to become a member of the E.U. and NATO.

Secondly, I believe that Russia does not want another country on its border with Europe to be occupied by NATO Forces, which is what the Western politicians, and in particular the USA want.

NATO Expansion

NATO Expansion

Currently the only three countries that are full members of NATO bordering Russia are the very small Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania and a part of Poland, but if Ukraine joins, as it wishes to, this will then put a very large swathe of Russian territory within easy reach of NATO forces. In the event of future conflict this will mean Russia will no longer have the advantage of a buffer state.

Finally, it is clear that eastern Ukraine, or at least some element of it, wishes to retain its ties with Russia and does not wish to become part of NATO or the European Union.

Ukraine Ethnicities

Ukraine Ethnicities

After the fall of the Berlin wall the and Russian domination of Eastern Europe, the east of Ukraine has retained its close ties with Russia. In the current battles it is certain that Russia has exerted a lot of influence in the eastern provinces and Russia has assisted the rebels.

So far as the USA and Europe are concerned, I believe their main aim is to expand territory that comes under their control through NATO and the European Union. It is known that the President of Ukraine has requested membership of both organizations but I have to ask if this is absolutely necessary for the country. There can be little doubt that trade agreements can be made with many countries without having to join NATO or the E.U. An agreement can also be drawn up to protect the country from invasion without it becoming a part of any Alliance.

So, in a nutshell this is the situation. I understand that it is grossly simplified but I believe it covers the main arguments for and against. The big problem is what to do to reach an agreement that will satisfy all parties.

Ukraine Trade Balance

Ukraine Trade Balance

Looking at these facts it comes to mind that first of all Ukraine should be recognized as a neutral country much the same as Switzerland and Sweden. This will remove any tension in Russia regarding the presence of western forces on their border.  With such a position, eastern Ukraine will still be able to trade with Russia if they wish while the rest of the country can trade with whomsoever they please. Naturally such an agreement would mean them not becoming a full member of the European Union, but negotiations could still be agreed with regard to trade.

It is essential that the USA and Europe back off from their plans to make Ukraine a NATO member, even though the government there have requested it. This action would give assurance to Russia that rival troops and bases would not be on their doorstep.

A written agreement should be signed assuring the continued presence of the Black Sea Fleet in the base at Sevastopol which would go a long way to reducing tension. This base provides thousands of jobs in the east of the country and is without doubt a benefit to the economy.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

One immediate step forward would be to see an end to inflammatory remarks such as those made recently by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who accused Vladimir Putin of acting like a “mid-20th century tyrant” over Ukraine. Secondly all talk about sending arms to Ukraine by the USA and some European countries only inflames the situation.

If the leaders of Russia, the USA, Britain, Germany and France as the leading nations can sit around a table and discuss the measures I have laid out I believe the crisis would be over quickly.

It is not a question of any country ‘backing down’, but more one of respectable leaders ending a situation that could theoretically escalate into a third world war.

What Continued Escalation Can Lead To!

What Continued Escalation Can Lead To!

When crisis of this nature arise common sense must prevail, for this is not just a case of East versus West or the future of just one country. When tempers are frayed and rhetoric gets tough, eventually someone will press the button and it could mean the end of humanity on this planet.

Roy.

2 Responses to “How About This For A Ukraine Peace Plan”

  1. Ukraine wants EU membership for reasons not unlike Greece and the like it is more about economic stability than trade.
    Your plan is overly lenient to the Russians. You talk about maintaining The Black Sea Fleet lease which is a moot point. The Crimea has been annexed and isn’t going back to Kiev. The Russians are actively fighting and sustaining casualties. I can see where they might back off and sweep things under the rug but the separatists aren’t gonna come to heel so why bother.
    If Ukraine is carved up to appease putin how does it stand economically specifically energy needs.?
    Russia needs to snap into the21st century. Buffer states are irrelevant throwbacks to strategy of the past. The real problem Russia has is childish bullying doesn’t work when your targets get bigger and better friends.

    Like

    • Hi Alfie, good to have you back.
      You make some very good points there, and you are right insofar as Eastern Ukraine may already be lost. I just hope they find a peaceful solution to the whole saga without war breaking out.
      Best Regards,
      Roy.

      Like

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