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‘Davos Panicker,’ Ukraine slams Henry Kissinger for saying country must cede land to Russia

The statesman also warned the West that an embarrassing defeat for Russia would further destabilise the world order.

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New Delhi: US statesman Henry Kissinger has said that Ukraine should give up territory to Russia to bring an end to the invasion, and that the West should refrain from seeking an embarrassing defeat for Russia because that would further destabilise the word order.

The 98-year-old former US secretary of state was speaking at a conference in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Kissinger reminded the West of Russia’s place in the European balance of power, and hinted that Ukraine must soon come to the negotiating table.

The Telegraph quoted him as saying: “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. Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”

The “status quo ante” refers to restoring the situation when Russia formally controlled Crimea and informally held Ukraine’s two easternmost regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already said that part of his condition for starting peace talks with Russia would be the restoration of pre-invasion borders.

Kissinger also told the WEF that Russia had been an important part of Europe for 400 years and was “the guarantor of the European balance of power structure at critical times”. “European leaders should not lose sight of the longer term relationship, and nor should they risk pushing Russia into a permanent alliance with China,” the report quoted the statesman, who had played a significant role in the easing of tensions between the US and Russia during the Cold War.

“I hope the Ukrainians will match the heroism they have shown with wisdom,” he said, adding that the “proper role for the country is to be a neutral buffer state rather than the frontier of Europe”.

Kissinger’s “solution” to the war is contrary to what Ukrainians want. An overwhelming majority of the population is against any territorial concession to Russia.

A poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology between 13 and 18 May found that 82 per cent of all respondents said they did not want to cede land to Russia. “Only 10% believe that some territories can be abandoned in order to achieve peace and preserve independence,” the survey said.

The survey added: “Even in the East, which is currently experiencing intense fighting, 68% are against concessions (only 19% are ready to make concessions), and 83% are opposed to concessions in the South (only 9% are ready to make concessions).

“It is also important to see that among the respondents currently living in the occupied territories, 77% are against any territorial concessions (18% are ready to make concessions). At the same time, 82% of those who left the occupied territories after February 24, 2022 oppose any concessions (only 5% support concessions).”

Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak sent out an angry tweet in response to Kissinger’s “solution”. He wrote: “As easily as Mr. #Kissinger proposes to give (Russia) part of (Ukraine) to stop the war, he would allow to take Poland or Lithuania away.” Podolyak added. “It’s good that Ukrainians in the trenches do not have time for listening to ‘Davos panickers’. They’re a little bit busy defending Freedom and Democracy.”

He accompanied the tweet with an old photo of Kissinger shaking hands with Vladimir Putin.

Also read: Davos meetings are full of potential but rarely full of solutions


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