27th Mar 2023


A call to impose 'sanctions from hell' on Russia

  • French president Emmanuel Macron's failed attempt to dissuade Vladimir Putin from war in Ukraine, 8 February (Photo:
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From the first days of Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine, foreign media (and through them the official capitals) have been broadcasting live from the frontline.

The frontline of the fight against Putinism.

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  • The author, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, was ambassador of Ukraine to the EU (2010-2015) and diplomatic advisor to the fifth president of Ukraine (2015-2019). He is in Kyiv (Photo: Wikimedia)

The truth and objective information they disseminate create an additional shield for Ukraine's defence.

However, recently there has been a new trend. With varying degrees of interest, our foreign partners are interested in the scope of compromises that Kyiv is ready to accept to end the war.

After all, they say, it can't go on like this, and any war ends in a truce and peace.

I will answer this immediately: it is difficult to find a more peaceful country and nation in the world than Ukraine. Ukrainians, because of the tragic history of their statehood, know the price of peace like no other.

We strive for peace, and we fight for it.

I must disappoint those who are serious about the effectiveness of achieving peace through compromises at the expense of Ukraine.

When Putin started his premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against our state, he did not think about compromises.

His only goal was and remains the revival of the Soviet Empire, the destruction of Ukrainian statehood and the undermining of the collective West.

He is driven by a thirst for revenge on the free world for its defeat in the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR. The only thing he looks for is revenge without compromise.

Putin seeks capitulation. Capitulation of Ukraine. And the capitulation of the West in Ukraine.

Therefore, let me ask all those in the West who think of compromises at the expense of Ukraine. What compromises are you willing to make with Putin?

Is the West ready to see Russian missiles destroying EU and Nato cities? Is the West ready to see Putin's tanks plundering its lands? Is the West ready, at the Kremlin's request, to return Nato's military infrastructure to the status of 1997?

Compromises should be demanded not from Ukraine, but from Putin. And the whole world should do the demanding.

If the world is tempted to stop the war by appeasement through concessions at the expense of Ukraine, I fear that any situation-specific agreement with Putin is doomed to be temporary and will have tragic consequences for the democratic world.

Any compromise at the expense of Ukraine today will be only a temporary break for Putin to analyse and to correct his mistakes, to heal wounds and to prepare for a new war with both Ukraine and the free world.

The only way to security and long-term peace is to de-Putinize Russia and to drastically strengthen Nato's eastern flanks and Ukraine. It is impossible and hopeless to negotiate peace with Putin's Russia.

Today we should think not about compromises at the expense of Ukraine, but about forcing Putin to end the war, to achieve peace.

And if he does not want peace, we must put pressure on the aggressor — by means of our strength, by our united front, by means of sanctions from hell and by pressuring him on every front.

We should not be afraid of surprising Putin by stopping the purchase of Russian energy by EU countries, by providing Ukraine with defence weapons, including strengthening air defences, humanitarian and financial assistance, and granting Ukraine EU candidate status.

Such large-scale support for Ukraine should lead to the opening of the second western front against the Putin regime.

Today, any compromise with the Kremlin on Ukraine would legalise its aggression against Kyiv, Nato and the collective West.

In essence, this would be a recognition by the free world that borders of a state can be changed by force and the free choice of an independent nation can be vetoed. That would be a betrayal of thousands of victims and the suffering of millions of Ukrainians.

Together we must press Putin to surrender.

Author bio

Kostiantyn Yelisieiev was ambassador of Ukraine to the EU (2010-2015) and diplomatic advisor to the fifth president of Ukraine (2015-2019). He is in Kyiv.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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