Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has dissected the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, suggesting that some Western leaders may have misjudged Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Understanding Putin's Russia
Nicolas Sarkozy, who has firsthand experience dealing with Vladimir Putin, commented on the commonly held belief that the Russian leader is beyond the reach of diplomacy.
He stated, "Politicians who say it's impossible to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin simply never did." Sarkozy suggests that Putin's actions, especially the invasion of Ukraine, may have been provoked. Drawing attention to the complexity of the situation, Sarkozy wrote, “It is said we are fighting a war against Russia without fighting it.
Clearly we are not engaged on the ground, but we are delivering weapons to one of the belligerents”. He stresses the importance of Russia's geographical and political position, reminding that "Russia will remain our neighbour whether we like it or not."
The Path to De-Escalation
Calling for a more measured approach to the conflict, Sarkozy advised that steps should be taken to reinstate peaceful relations with Russia.
He suggested that Russia should “renounce all military action against its neighbours”. On the flip side, he believes that “Ukraine must pledge to remain neutral”. In a nod to the broader geopolitical picture, Sarkozy proposed that “NATO could at the same time affirm its willingness to respect and take into account Russia’s historic fear of being encircled by unfriendly neighbours”.
However, he didn't shy away from acknowledging the harsh realities. He described Ukraine's ambitions to reclaim Crimea as "illusory". At the same time, he was explicit in stating the aggressive stance of Russia and Putin, labeling Ukraine as the victim in the situation.
With an alarming statistic, he claimed that the conflict has already resulted in 500,000 deaths. In Sarkozy's vision, the options to resolve the conflict are limited. He perceives one potential solution as "the destruction of Russia", although it's unclear whether this is an endorsement or a mere observation.
On earlier occasions, Sarkozy has advocated for a more neutral position for Ukraine, suggesting that it should abstain from joining NATO and the EU. He firmly believes that "peace talks" are the paramount solution to put an end to the hostilities.
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