The NATO Secretary General stressed that the alliance is ready to help Ukraine take the strongest position at the negotiating table with Russia, which should end hostilities
Peace in Ukraine is possible, the only question is the price— how much territory, how much freedom and democracy the country is willing to pay for this world. This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference in Helsinki.
“Peace in Ukraine is possible. The question is what will be its price. How much territory, how much independence, how much freedom, how much democracy it is willing to pay for peace. And it's a very difficult moral dilemma,”” he emphasized.
Stoltenberg noted that hostilities must end at the negotiating table and that NATO is ready to help Ukraine take the strongest position in negotiations with Russia.
He recalled that the North Atlantic Alliance is not a party to the conflict in Ukraine. However, according to him, NATO faces two tasks: to continue to support Kyiv and to prevent the escalation of hostilities outside this country.
The NATO Secretary General considered that the ambitions of Russian President Vladimir Putin “go beyond the borders of Ukraine.” Stoltenberg recalled that Moscow's proposals on security guarantees presented by the US and NATO in December 2021 included clauses that concerned not only Ukraine, but also the alliance.
“These demands are tantamount to a complete revision of the European security order, enshrined in the Helsinki Accords. One of the main principles of the agreements is the right of each nation to choose its own path,— said Stoltenberg.
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In December 2021, against the backdrop of accusations by the West of Russia of preparing an attack on Ukraine, Moscow sent Washington proposals for security guarantees. Russia demanded non-expansion of NATO to the east and refusal to accept the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine and Georgia.
In January, Russia held three rounds of negotiations on this issue with the US, NATO and the OSCE. However, the parties failed to agree on key points for the Russian side.
At the end of May, Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, said that some Western politicians were offering Kyiv to cede part of the territory to Moscow in order to stop the Russian military operation. He stressed that Ukraine would not participate in such discussions.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba also said that Kyiv would not agree to the alienation of part of the territories. Kyiv does not see anything wrong with a truce with Moscow, but it should lead to the “liberation of Ukrainian territory,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in turn, stressed that Ukraine will start negotiations with Russia after it returns its territories lost after the start of the Russian military special operation on February 24.
“But this, most likely, will be connected with the victims. To begin with, we plan to return [territories] to the state before February 24th. And then we will sit down at the negotiating table, & mdash; he said.
Russia launched a military special operation in Ukraine on February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin called its goal the demilitarization and denazification of the country.
A week after the start of the military special operation, on March 2, the Russian military took Kherson, and by March 15, the entire territory of the Kherson region came under Russian control. Then the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the capture of the south of the Zaporozhye region.
Military-civilian administrations began to be created in these regions. The authorities of the Kherson region have already introduced dual-currency zones, where the ruble will be used along with the hryvnia, promised to make the Russian language the state language, and proposed the creation of a Russian military base on its territory.
Representatives of the administration of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions spoke of their intention to enter into Russia. The Kremlin, commenting on the initiative, emphasized that this issue should be resolved by the residents of the region and “carefully calibrated by lawyers.”