In Other News – Global Leaders Raise Need for Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks – 11/17/2022

November 17, 2022

Global leaders increasingly raise the need for Ukraine-Russia peace talks, but the reality on the battlefield indicates that we’re months away from meaningful concessions that would form the basis of a realistic peace agreement. On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy outlined his nation’s ten-fold formula for peace to the participants of the G20 summit in Bali. The plan centers on the premise that Ukraine should not have to comprise on issues of sovereignty, territory, independence, and conscience. Zelenskyy also called for discussions on peace to be public and not in closed rooms. Understandably, Ukrainian distrust of Russia reigns large, and Zelenskyy also emphasized that there “will be no Minsk-3” because Moscow would immediately violate such an agreement.

Most members of the G20 strongly condemned the war and agreed that Russia violated territorial sovereignty, but assessments of the situation and the impact of sanctions on the global economy were reportedly disputed. At the end of the G20 summit, however, French President Macron stated that he wants to visit Beijing in the coming year and aims to encourage China to take on a mediating role in the conflict. Turkey is also hoping to capitalize on its negotiating position and wants to build on its diplomatic efforts negotiating the grain deal.

But on Tuesday, while peace talks were being floated, Russia reportedly conducted the largest number of strikes in a single day since the initial week of its invasion last February. The intensity of the attacks is highly significant even as Ukraine claims some victories in places like Kherson. Russia continues to target power generation and transmission facilities, and on Thursday gas production plants and civilian buildings near the southern city of Zaporizhzhia were hit, resulting in several deaths and significant power cuts. Zelenskyy accused Putin of decimating civilian access to heat and electricity, but Moscow blames Kyiv for its “unwillingness” to negotiate. Russian officials also incredulously insisted that the US and NATO should take the blame for this week’s missile incident in Poland that killed two, as Washington is the “prime cause” of everything that’s happened.

Global pressures are mounting to negotiate an end to the war that’s been threatening stability well beyond Ukrainian borders, but so far Ukraine’s resolve remains strong, and Russia’s actions leave little evidence of winding-down. As stated by Kremlin spokesman Peskov, who was asked this week about the millions of Ukrainians left without power as winter temperatures take hold, “The special military operation continues and its continuation does not depend on climatic, weather conditions.” Peskov’s statement demonstrates Russia’s willingness to promote its war effort at all costs, and it also indicates that any real peace discussion is unlikely until both sides reassess their standing after the cold, winter months.