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EU state’s leader calls for end to Ukraine conflict

It is naive to think that Kiev can recapture all the territories it claims as its own from Russia, Czech President Petr Pavel says

Russia and Ukraine should end their conflict and engage in negotiations, Czech President Petr Pavel has said, stressing that the diplomatic process must involve both Kiev and Moscow.

In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, Pavel, who previously served as the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee and the chief of the Czech Republic’s General Staff, expressed doubt that Ukraine can achieve a clear victory over Russia.

“We have to be realistic. It would be naive to say that Ukraine can fully restore the control over the territories in the foreseeable future. Russia will not give up the territory it is occupying now,” he said, referring to four former Ukrainian territories that voted to join Russia in autumn 2022, as well as Crimea, which did so several years earlier.

Pavel stressed that “we need to stop the war and then start negotiations about [a] future arrangement.” He suggested that “there might be some kind of a compromise,” but cautioned that it would be unattainable without the participation of Ukraine, Russia, and other countries that could act as guarantors of the agreement.

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The Czech president said that while the West has enough resources to prop up Ukraine’s military, NATO cannot intervene directly on the battlefield because it would trigger a direct clash with Russia. 

When pressed whether he believes Ukraine could eventually join the US-led military bloc, Pavel responded in the affirmative, adding, however, that “we have to come up with a kind of a settlement, restore peace in the region, and then we can talk about the potential membership of Ukraine.”

He also weighed in on the Russian offensive in Kharkov Region, noting that it is “the result of long preparation,” and that Ukraine had been bracing for this for a long time while asking the West for more weapons. Nevertheless, he claimed that the West had been “overcautious with our [arms] deliveries” to Kiev, warning that Ukraine may “eventually lose the war.”

Ukrainian officials have long warned that they would struggle to hold back Russia if it launched a major offensive. In recent days, the Russian Defense Ministry reported advances in the border Kharkov Region, claiming to have captured several settlements while Kiev has scrambled to send reinforcements. 

May 15, 2024 at 08:07PM

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