The Ukrainian government has dismissed as “appeasing the aggressor” calls by veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger that the time had come for a negotiated peace with Russia in order to reduce the risk of a devastating world war.
Former US Secretary of State Kissinger, architect of the Cold War policy of detente towards the Soviet Union under disgraced US President Richard Nixon and later President Gerald Ford, made the proposal in an opinion piece published in the Spectator magazine.
“I have repeatedly expressed my support for the allied military effort to thwart Russia’s aggression in Ukraine,” Kissinger wrote.
“But the time is approaching to build on the strategic changes which have already been accomplished and to integrate them into a new structure towards achieving peace through negotiation,” he wrote.
“The preferred outcome for some is a Russia rendered impotent by the war. I disagree,” Kissinger continued.
“For all its propensity to violence, Russia has made decisive contributions to the global equilibrium and to the balance of power for over half a millennium. Its historical role should not be degraded. Russia’s military setbacks have not eliminated its global nuclear reach, enabling it to threaten escalation in Ukraine,” he added.
Kissinger, who has met Russian President Vladimir Putin multiple times, proposed at the World Economic Forum in Davos in May that Ukraine should let Russia keep Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, and that Russia withdraw to the front lines before its February 2022 invasion.
“Mr. Kissinger still has not understood anything … neither the nature of this war, nor its impact on the world order,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said on Telegram.
“The prescription that the ex-Secretary of State calls for, but is afraid to say out loud, is simple: appease the aggressor by sacrificing parts of Ukraine with guarantees of non-aggression against the other states of Eastern Europe,” he said.
'The time is approaching to build on the strategic changes which have already been accomplished and to integrate them into a new structure towards achieving peace through negotiation.'
✍️ Henry Kissinger https://t.co/Vub4zb2mig
— The Spectator (@spectator) December 18, 2022
Ukraine has said that it does not believe that Putin — who has said that he is prepared for a long war in Ukraine — is serious about peace, and that there can be no peace until every Russian soldier leaves its territory, including Crimea.
Podolyak added: “All supporters of simple solutions should remember the obvious: any agreement with the devil — a bad peace at the expense of Ukrainian territories — will be a victory for Putin and a recipe for success for autocrats around the world.”
Kremlin officials were not available for comment late on Sunday.
⚡️Zelensky aide rebuffs Kissinger's proposal for negotiated peace with Russia.
Kyiv dismissed former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's suggestion that the time is approaching to achieve peace through negotiation with Russia, saying his proposal "appeases the aggressor."
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) December 19, 2022
In May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced suggestions that Ukraine should cede control of territory to Russia in order to secure peace, comparing such a move with the appeasement of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Those “great geopoliticians” who suggest this are disregarding the interests of Ukrainians, “the millions of those who actually live on the territory that they propose exchanging for an illusion of peace”, Zelenskyy said at the time.
“Whatever the Russian state does, you will always find someone who says, ‘let’s take its interests into account’,” Zelenskyy said.
CIA Director William Burns said in an interview published on Saturday that while most conflicts end in negotiation, the CIA’s assessment was Russia was not serious yet about a real negotiation to end the war.