The view of some Western politicians that sitting down at a negotiating table is the first thing that needs to happen before peace can reign in Ukraine is a fundamental error. Peace is not just the absence of fighting, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, has said in an interview with The Economist.
"Calling for both sides to talk before Russia admits Ukraine's very right to exist as a sovereign nation is ridiculous. Until Western nations create effective mechanisms to deter the Russian aggressors, punish them, and force them to fulfil their obligations under international law, any negotiations will just allow Russia to weaponise the diplomacy, giving themselves a break to prepare for their next act of aggression," he said.
He recalled that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented his ideas for this as a 10-point road map in his speech to the G19 powers in Bali in mid-November. Sitting across a table to confirm the end of fighting should be the last thing on the list.