What is the safest path ahead for the people of Ukraine?


The people of Ukraine have suffered enormous distress during the last one year. Clearly it is time to consider carefully the various options and select the safest one involving the least possibilities of further distress and risks.

From all available evidence the safest possible path from the point of view of the people of Ukraine appears to be a three phased one.

In the first phase there is immediate ceasefire in its ongoing war with Russia—unconditional, on the basis of the existing line of control, with all other issues left to be settled in the near future with negotiations. Systems will have to be set in place to ensure that disruptive elements are not allowed to sabotage the ceasefire agreement.

The second phase of about six to twelve months would consist of internal discussions regarding negotiations while at the same time large-scale reconstruction and rehabilitation work is initiated with very generous, unconditional help from the international community and all those displaced people of Ukraine who want to return to their home start doing so. This is also seen as a period of goodwill gestures and at world level for all peace loving people, organizations and countries to start making whatever contributions and suggestions they can for the success of the negotiations.

After about six to twelve months during which better goodwill has been created, the actual negotiations start while large-scale reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts continue. The negotiations are conducted with patience and with quiet determination to resolve all vexing issues. Some continuing disagreements are not allowed to stand in the way of agreements that can be reached, and there can be several rounds of extended negotiations while reconstruction continues uninterrupted. In due course elections are held and all efforts are made for fair elections, allowing true representatives of people to emerge and decide the course of future actions.

This three phase path offers the safest way forward for the people of Ukraine. Ukraine has nothing to lose from making such an offer immediately to Russia. If Russia accepts this offer—and it is very likely to do so—then it will be very good. If Russia is less wise and rejects this offer, then Ukraine will still stand to gain much in international support for having initially made this offer based on unconditional and immediate ceasefire.

While this three phased path offers the safest way forward for the people of Ukraine, this also offers the best option for world peace. The Ukraine conflict has become the biggest threat to world peace, with several warnings being voiced by eminent persons regarding this conflict, if not checked very quickly, leading to a much wider conflict, possibly even a nuclear war and the third world war. This three phased path will help to avoiding this colossal threat and contribute much to world peace.

Will the present decision makers in Ukraine take such an initiative for peace? What will be the attitude of the USA and NATO towards such a peace initiative? Will they be encouraging or discouraging towards such peace initiatives involving the two neighbors? These remain big questions. However the peace movement in western countries should strive to do its best to ensure that any such peace initiative, even if not facilitated, is not disrupted or discouraged by their governments.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, A Day in 2071, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth without Borders.


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