Six years after Russia annexed Crimea, a number of articulate and influential people in the West have become firmly convinced that a way out of the impasse must be found.
On the face of it, the proposition requires little justification. The toll exacted by the war in Ukraine has been onerous, and whilst there has been no major fighting in five years, the economic and humanitarian burdens remain considerable, and the risk of wider conflict persists. Moreover, recrimination and pressure now characterize the relationship between Russia and those whom its leadership acidly calls “our Western partners.”
It is hardly incidental that Ukraine’s not so experienced president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, believes that ending the war with Russia is his most urgent task.
In the political establishment, the most eminent figure determined to break the mold is France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, who has spoken eloquently about the need to “tie Russia and Europe back together.”
But examples of restlessness can also be found within the expert community, where some have turned the search for a compromise into a duty bordering on obsession. The latest report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) is an elaborately even-handed example of this genre. It is hardly incidental that Ukraine’s not so experienced president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, believes that ending the war with Russia is his most urgent task.
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