Ukraine, von der Leyen: “No to a frozen conflict, it would not bring lasting peace”

The president of the EU Commission: “A just peace must involve the withdrawal of Russian forces and their equipment from the territory of Ukraine”

A “ceasefire” in Ukraine that “leads to a frozen conflict will not lead to lasting peace. After all, there was a ceasefire in place after 2014: and we know what happened last February when Russia invaded. A ceasefire would be inherently unstable and would destabilize the region, along the line of contact.” He says so the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, at Globsec in Bratislava, Slovakia. “Nobody would invest or rebuild – he continues – and the conflict could flare up again at any time. No. A just peace must involve the withdrawal of Russian forces and their equipment from the territory of Ukraine“.

“Above all – continues von der Leyen – the principle ‘nothing on Ukraine without Ukraine’ should apply. Together with Ukraine we want a just peace, which does not reward the aggressor, but which upholds the principles of the UN Charter and the right of the Ukrainian people to be masters of their own future. President Volodymyr Zelensky is very clear about this. President Zelensky has come forward with a peace formula, which we wholeheartedly support. Each of the 10 points of him is based on the UN Charter or UN resolutions. And he called on countries around the world to come together and build on the formula for peace, so that the starting point for peace is the rules-based order. A just peace for Ukraine must also be lasting. And to be lasting, it must be strengthened in two vital ways: The first is ensure the long-term security of Ukraine. I welcome the ongoing discussions on how to ensure the security of Kiev. There are several models and historical examples that can be used.”

“A collection of guarantees from like-minded states – says the president of the Commission – can offer what some have called ‘deterrence by denial’. In other words, provide Ukraine with military equipment to fortify itself against Russian attacks in the future. The important thing is that in the end there is clarity. Clarity that friends of Ukraine will be there, in the long run, for Ukraine’s security. Such an arrangement with security guarantees it will have to be accompanied by a broader framework of democratic reforms in Ukraine. And here, Ukraine’s path to joining our Union will play a key role. Although everyone knew we were embarking on a challenging journey, we gave Ukraine candidate status. Rightly so. Now we have to be by their side every step of the way. The fact is that too as they fight for their survival, Ukrainians are passing crucial reforms to strengthen their democracy. Ukraine continues to advance towards our Union, against all odds. And we will continue to do our part to bring Ukraine much closer and much faster to a just and lasting peace.”