Former U.S. secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger said Monday that Ukraine should cede territory to Russia to help end the invasion.
Speaking at a conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Kissinger urged the United States and the West to not seek “an embarrassing defeat” for Russia in Ukraine, warning it could worsen Europe’s long-term stability.
After saying that Western countries should remember Russia’s importance to Europe and not get swept up “in the mood of the moment,” Kissinger also pushed for the West to force Ukraine into accepting negotiations with a “status quo ante,” which means the previous state of affairs.
“Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome. Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” said Kissinger, 98, according to the Daily Telegraph. “Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”
Kissinger said that Russia has “legitimate historical interests and claims” in the territory of eastern Ukraine. “There is much more to the invasion than simply a land grab,” he said.
The “status quo ante” mentioned by Kissinger, who was secretary of state to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, refers to restoring a situation in which Russia formally controlled Crimea and informally controlled Ukraine’s two easternmost regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has emphasized that part of his conditions for entering peace talks with Russia would include a restoration of preinvasion borders.
Kissinger’s comments come as world leaders say Russia’s war in Ukraine has thrown the “whole international order into question.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told global leaders in Davos that the war is not only “a matter of Ukraine’s survival” or “an issue of European security” but also “a task for the entire global community.” She lamented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “destructive fury” but said Russia could one day recover its place in Europe if it “finds its way back to democracy, the rule of law and respect for the international rules-based order … because Russia is our neighbor.”
Credit: Washington Post