Naad-e-Ali Sulehria – South Asia Fellow, PoliTact
As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues, statement has set in. In recent negotiations, both sides rejected each other’s terms thus suggesting that finding a resolution remains elusive.
Despite previous indications of openness to a ceasefire, Russia, in a Security Council meeting this Monday, criticized and rejected Ukraine’s peace proposal. Russia denounced President Zelensky’s plans, which include the withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory and the prosecution of Russian officials for war crimes. Russia asserted its readiness to negotiate for peace but not on compromising terms while declaring the present plan a guise to continue Ukraine’s war ambitions while obtaining more western funds.
Zelensky, in turn, has rejected Russia’s offer for a ceasefire, expressing concerns that any frozen conflict would likely reignite. By exploiting Ukraine’s vulnerabilities, Russia can launch a new aggression that could expand to other countries. Zelensky believes that accepting a ceasefire at the current positions, where Russia has already annexed four Ukrainian regions, would provide Russia with a claim to victory. Meanwhile, Ukraine will lose the gains it has made or could make in its offensive against Russia.
Last week at the World Economic Forum, Zelensky voiced his fear that any shortage of military equipment and ammunition will result in strengthening Putin, especially as the EU and the US, have shown reluctance to fulfill their commitments.
In response, the US and EU have affirmed their support for Ukraine, with promises from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. However, despite renewed commitments, Zelensky’s hopes for a significant breakthrough may be dashed as attention has been diverted by the Gaza-Israel conflict and upcoming US elections.
Support for Ukraine is contingent upon the outcome of the US presidential elections. European allies, including NATO, are also anxious about the result of these elections. Zelensky has expressed concern over Donald Trump’s suggestion that he could swiftly end the Russia-Ukraine war if he returns to the White House. Apprehensive about the past ties between Putin and Trump, Zelensky insists that any unilateral decisions by Trump would undermine Ukraine’s genuine demands and would weaken Ukraine’s position.