Remember Kissinger’s advice to the Ukrainians

Lord Owen and other distinguished observers write to the UK’s Financial Times, 23 February 2022

“…..Vladimir Putin’s demand that Ukraine be barred from Nato is the latest iteration of a Russian policy stretching back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.”

“In his article ‘The empire returns’ (The Weekend Essay, Life & Arts, January 28) Serhii Plokhy correctly says that president Vladimir Putin’s demand that Ukraine be barred from Nato is the latest iteration of a Russian policy stretching back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“Nato governments have rightly said they are willing to address Russia’s security concerns, but then say in the same breath that Russia has no legitimate security concerns because Nato is a purely defensive alliance. Whether we like it or not, a Nato that now borders Russia and could in future border even more of Russia is seen by Russia as a security concern.

“In 2014 Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post that “internationally [Ukraine] should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland. That nation leaves no doubt about its fierce independence, co-operates with the west in most fields, but carefully avoids institutional hostility to Russia.”

“A permanent ‘Finlandisation’ of Ukraine would be unrealistic. But it should be possible for Nato, in close association with Ukraine, to put forward detailed proposals to negotiate a new treaty with Russia that engenders no institutional hostility. This would cover: the verifiable withdrawal of nuclear-capable missiles; detailed military confidence-building measures limiting numbers and demarcating deployment; and international agreement on presently contested borders between Russia and Ukraine.”

The other signatories are Lord Skidelsky, Historian, Fellow of British Academy; Sir Anthony Brenton, British Ambassador to Russia 2004-08; Christopher Granville, former British Diplomat; and Nina Krushcheva, Professor of International Affairs, The New School, New York, US.

View the letter here.