by Bethany Elliott
Thursday, 5
January 2023
Analysis
15:00

Who will be the guarantor of peace in Ukraine?

Several countries are vying to lead negotiations
by Bethany Elliott
Credit: Getty

As the Ukraine war remains in an entrenched stalemate, thoughts are turning to peace. At last November’s G20 summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unveiled his peace plan, the basis for a possible summit in February.

The chances of securing an agreement are not high. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected Zelensky’s conditions, while UN Secretary-General António Guterres himself judged last month that “the military confrontation will go on” and “we’ll have to wait for a moment in which serious negotiations for peace will be possible”. Yet, as Ukraine and Russia consider what shape a ceasefire may take, nations have been jostling to position themselves as possible guarantors for an eventual truce.


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UAE 🇦🇪

The United Arab Emirates has remained steadfastly neutral over the Ukraine conflict. Maintaining strong trade ties with Russia has not stopped the Arab nation from simultaneously negotiating a trade deal with Ukraine and voting at the UN to condemn Russia’s September annexation of four Ukrainian regions. The UAE could therefore be in a good position to guarantee any peace agreement. President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has expressed his readiness to mediate between the two and the UAE has already facilitated talks between Russia and Ukraine on prisoner exchanges and the resumption of Russian ammonia exports.

Italy 🇮🇹

An unlikely contender, last week Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced that “Italy is ready to be a guarantor of the peaceful process”. While its own wartime history proves how easily Italy can slip between both sides of a conflict, the Italian government is unlikely to be Zelensky’s first choice of arbiter or guarantor. Although Meloni has herself remained a staunch supporter of Ukraine, the PM’s coalition partners will ring alarm bells in Kyiv.

Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi has been caught on tape calling himself one of Putin’s “five real friends” and discussing their “gifts and sweet letters”. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — a man who once toured Moscow wearing a T-shirt depicting Putin’s face — suggested last September that the West should rethink sanctions, making Italy’s chances of effecting a reconciliation highly dubious.

Turkey 🇹🇷

Perhaps one of the surprises of the war has been the central role played by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan. Supplying Ukraine with weaponry while ratcheting up trade with Russia, Erdoğan already has a host of diplomatic successes to his name, including brokering prisoner swaps between Ukraine and Russia as well as orchestrating July’s UN-backed deal resuming Ukrainian grain deliveries from the Black Sea.

Turkey enjoys goodwill among both parties and stands a good chance of acting as a future guarantor, with Zelensky having discussed his readiness to accept Turkey undertaking such a role as early as April last year.

Israel 🇮🇱

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s attempts to mediate between the two sides in the early stages of the conflict faltered, in no small part due to his administration’s hardline approach to Russia. While former Foreign Minister (and briefly Prime Minister) Yair Lapid denounced Russian “war crimes”, Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to the premiership has marked a shift in Israel’s policy towards Ukraine. Following his appointment as Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen spoke by telephone with Lavrov — the first such call since the invasion — and announced the draft of a “responsible” new policy on the conflict, suggesting he would “speak less in public” about Ukraine.

Engaging more constructively with Russia makes Israel a likelier guarantor overall. Israel enjoys the support of the US to mediate and seasoned statesman Netanyahu has deep personal ties with Putin. However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s labelling of Israel as a “difficult country” in response to Cohen’s comments suggests Ukrainian reluctance could prove an obstacle.

China and America 🇨🇳 🇺🇸

In using the Ukraine invasion to reassert Russia’s great power status and take back what he deems “historical Russian lands”, Putin may well refuse to sit around a negotiating table with anyone less than a great power. Sanctions and diplomatic isolation have increased Russia’s dependence on China, another possible contender. Indeed, China’s has financial interests in Ukraine, and in September last year President Xi Jinping expressed “concerns” regarding the war, suggesting an interest in pushing for peace.

As the biggest supplier of weapons and aid to Ukraine, America also has the leverage to bring Ukraine to the table and be taken seriously as a guarantor. Ukrainian officials have been discussing US security guarantees to protect the country from another invasion as far back as April. As such, these two countries may well end up being the two most likely suitors.

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J Bryant
J Bryant
27 days ago

Only the US can bring Ukraine to the negotiating table. For political reasons, they might choose not to be the public intermediary, but they will pull the strings.
I wonder if there’s any serious move toward peace negotiations going on in the background? I haven’t seen an article anywhere suggesting the US, and maybe China, are quietly laying the groundwork for peace. My impression is there’ll be at least another six months of war.

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

and the rest. Didn’t they tell us it would all be over by Christmas. Ever heard that one before.

Tony Price
Tony Price
27 days ago

As I understand it in 1992 Russia, USA and UK jointly guaranteed the complete independence of Ukraine in return for the return of all nuclear weapons to the USSR. That went well, so how can anyone trust a guarantee, especially from Russia, ever again?

D Walsh
D Walsh
27 days ago
Reply to  Tony Price

But Tony, the Ukraine joining NATO breaks the guarantee the Russians were given regarding NATO expansion to the East

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
27 days ago
Reply to  D Walsh

There has never been any treaty or written agreement to prevent the Baltic countries joining NATO, whereas there was a signed treaty by Russia promising to respect Ukraines sovereignty and territory integrity.
The much misquoted “not one inch eastwards” was in reference to not moving soldiers into the old East Germany after the reunification until the Soviets had fully withdrawn, an agreement that was honoured.
Recently released archives from Tony Blairs time as PM also showed Putin said he wouldn’t oppose or slow down NATOs expansion.

Peter B
Peter B
27 days ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Ukraine has not joined NATO ! So I really don’t know what your point is here.
In any case, only a fool would trust any “guarantee” from Putin.
What is needed is not “peace”, but a stable, long term settlement. That either means a Russia dominated Ukraine or a fully independent Ukraine with something close to its original borders (perhaps back at the “borders” at in January 2022). The USA isn’t going to accept the first option. Nor should they.

martin logan
martin logan
27 days ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The Russian Federation was given no such guarantee, even orally.
It was “given” to something called “the Soviet Union” which no longer exists.

Tony Price
Tony Price
26 days ago
Reply to  D Walsh

As pointed out, Ukraine hasn’t joined NATO and there is no record of any such guarantee that it wouldn’t. Apart from which didn’t Russia rather break its signed and sealed guarantee by invading Ukraine in 2014, never mind invading Georgia in 2008?

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  Tony Price

But that was before the USA started placing bio-labs in The Ukraine in order to outsource their dirty work as USA voters would kick up about it in their neighbourhoods.
Would YOU like a neighbour like that.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
27 days ago

Kim Iverson’s new Rumble talk show – which is Excellent, had an amazing man to talk of Ukraine 2 days ago. You will remember his face if you are a big International Politics person like me – he was the WMD Inspector from Iraq who showed they did not exist – this guy has Real credentials, and if you wish to hear the real story from the opposite of the Agenda watch the link. Minute 51:15

https://rumble.com/v23rplo-dr.-robert-malone-talks-damar-hamlin-scott-ritter-analyzes-ukraine-killing-.html

Hear of the horror of this war – and the complete Pointlessness and evil of it… interesting, this is a real expert….the MSM tells you nothing. Before him is Dr Malone if you care for vax talk…haha

Go to Minute 51:15 and he will tell you Why this is the most evil war imaginable. This is an evil war, and really Biden is why. The conflict was not in the vital interests of the West, it was only gotten into by Biden and his bit *h Boris for some reason we cannot know, but know was a very bad reason. $100,000,000,000 have gone there with no accounting. High tech weapons are showing up in combat scenes in bad places FTX was their bag man. Likely a third of every dollar has gone to corrupt politicians in USA, EU, UK, and most of all into the pockets of the Ukraine Oligarchs. Billions and Billions made by the Military Industrial Complex – this feeds billions to Lobbyists who bribe politicos of all the parties – the Uniparty of all countries is owned by these lobbyists. Maybe Ukraine has the goods on Hunter and the big guy – maybe the GAS industry in USA wanted the European share Russia was supplying, and got it. (The Pipeline was not blown up by its self (or by Russia in any real situation)

Doomberg (Energy expert – and international finance and politics) says Germany has the ultimate deal with Qatar till 2040 for all its gas – at a huge price above what Russia would cost – but watch Doomberg on energy – great fun, tell you about how Europe has cut their own throat)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIFH1cK68-A

listen to him talk of pipelines, haha – the world is Not how they say it is….Listen to him talk of Germany wasting Half a Trillion $$$$ Just on firing up its mothballed coal and oil generating plants when that would have built an entire nuclear system, an Entire Grid! – but they had to do it because Gretta (small di *k energy, haha) had made them destroy their coal and nuclear electric grid. $500,000,000,000,000 !!!!! Germany wasted!!! because they had to bring back their coal and oil because of this war sanctions!!! I hope the British do not mind their £££ is toast because the sanctions! This war is evil – watch my links.

Evil War! Makes the Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan war seem small game….. Neo-Con Warmongers love it though. 250,000 dead, more maimed – the country destroyed, 8,000,000 refugees –

Peace Now.

martin logan
martin logan
27 days ago

Be patient.
Putin still hasn’t mobilized his “hidden reserves” in the big cities. Only when Russia reaches a million casualties, and its armed forces are essentially obliterated, will it be time to talk.
And gas at half the 2022 price is stunning. Think I’ll up my thermostat.

Last edited 27 days ago by Martin Logan
Tony Price
Tony Price
26 days ago

I just followed the link to Bumble – Mr Ritter says nothing whatsoever about this being ‘the most evil war imaginable’, but does have some interesting comments. However your gross distortion of what he says rather diminishes your credibility to comment.

Why did Biden & Boris jump in you ask? Well apart from assorted other Europeans helping out maybe it was because the US & UK signed a treaty guaranteeing Ukraine sovereignty and independence and are actually following through on that – shame that the third party, Russia, isn’t so inclined.

Greta Thunberg did not ‘make’ Germany destroy its coal and nuclear grid. The decision to junk the nuclear part was very strange and probably something that Greta would not approve of – why get rid of functioning sovereign nuclear power to replace with imported fossil fuels?

The war is indeed evil, but note who started it and progresses it – not Ukraine!

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  Tony Price

USA. This “war” is a construct of USA corporate capitalist hegemony. What do you do when consumerism no longer appeals because every shiny object of desire anyone can conceive of has been invented,designed to be user friendly and convenient and the market is saturated,and the poor people who cant buy “stuff” don’t count anyway. And youve got all the money anyway. How about a nice,jolly old War. Thats the ticket.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
24 days ago

Ugh. How does this mish-mash of buzzwords contribute anything to the discussion? It’s unreadable drivel.

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago

Scott Ritter. Top Guy.
Certain people are making a lot of money out of this “war’ so it ain’t going to stop any time soon. They’ve just signed a 5 year deal.

j watson
j watson
27 days ago

Most convinced by the last suggestion – China and US have the leverage.
But like most informed commentators do not expect any peace moves soon. Ukraine must retake Crimea or will never be secure. Putin won’t give it up. It’ll have to be taken. Probably some deal in the east regarding the Donbas poss but not over Crimea.
Thus who will outlast who? In theory should be Russian forces but they lack leadership, motivation and kit. It’s not impossible their morale completely collapses at some point. Conversely The Ukrainians have been smart and highly motivated. but need our help.
Most important strategic issue of our time, and History will see it like that, and thus far West has generally made the right calls, even if with hindsight this could have possibly been prevented by stronger deterrent earlier. Ukraine has ‘found’ itself as a country too and v worthy now of our continued support.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
26 days ago

Turkey has been preparing itself for this, and is the most likeley candidate.
UAE will host negociations, facilitate diplomacy and possibly broker the peace deals. But emiratis do not have enoough troops to position “obervation forces” that will be needed near the conflict’s “agreed upon” frontiers. And Russia will not accept a “Minsk like” treaty that will be backed by nothing but paper.
It’s worth noting that most meaningfull talks about Aghanistan between the US coalition and talibans took place in Dubai

martin logan
martin logan
27 days ago

I suspect Turkey is probably the best host. The Ukrainians know that Turkey has no interest in making Russia more powerful, while Putin knows he can make deals with Erdogan.
But don’t expect any talks until autumn. Both sides still want to fight.

j watson
j watson
26 days ago
Reply to  martin logan

Turkish elections in mid 23. May or may not change their position but certainly a big distraction for Erdogan

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
25 days ago

The only way to guarantee peace in Ukraine is the utterly destruction of Russia’s army in Ukraine & it’s retreat to the 2013 border. Once that happens, Russia’s likely internal disintegration will do the trick over the medium to long term.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
24 days ago

What’s your Plan B?

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago

The USA have signed a 5 year mega deal with US arms manufacturers which means the “war” is on schedule for 5 more years.,….

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
24 days ago

The piece confused “guarantors”, “honest brokers”, and “parties with influence.”
The Minsk Accords were the all-round agreed road to peace, and made binding in international law by the UN Security Council (where the US, Britain and France have veto power, and have often used it). Now, it turns out, the Western “guarantors” of the Minsk Accords, France and Germany, never regarded them as serious. Unsurprisingly neither did Ukraine, but evidently the guarantors of the Minsk Accords and the guardians of the vaunted rule-based order never saw it as their moral duty to bring Ukraine to implement them, or to even see them as a work in progress. It turns out Russia were the only ones to take the Minsk Accords seriously, while for the West, they were just a delaying tactic to allow Ukraine to prepare for a war of aggression against Russia.
Given the proven and acknowledged duplicity and mendacity of the leading Western powers, none of them qualifies as “guarantor” of any peace, not even as “honest broker”.
That is a sad state of affairs and a problem for peace. And it is one wholly of our own making.