WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Seven weeks later, where does the world stand with the conflict in Ukraine? And what hope if there is now for peace? Peace talks continue, but, it seems, without real momentum.
And while accusations of war crimes by the West in the region only seem to be intensifying, the Kremlin continues to insist on its commitment to easing tensions in the region.
So is it possible that we are close to an endgame? And what exactly could that look like?
Here, Stephen Cole talks about Senator of the Russian Federation Konstantin Kosachev to Moscow to get a Russian view of where we are.
MEET THE EXPERT
Konstantin Kosachev is a politician and diplomat. He is a senator in the Federation Council of Russia (the upper house of the Russian Parliament) and chairs its Foreign Affairs Committee.
Previously, he worked as an interpreter/translator and diplomat in various Foreign Ministry institutions in the USSR and Russia, including as First Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Sweden. In 1999 he was elected a member of the State Duma.
From 2003 to 2011, Kosachev served as Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs. From 2012 to 2014, he headed the Federal Agency for Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Expatriates and International Humanitarian Cooperation.
WHAT DOES KOSACHEV SAY?
“We have two leads.” Kosachev tells Stephen: “…the military way…and the negotiations…We are somewhere in the middle of the process and somewhere in between the two ways. And I hope we have already overcome the low point of this development .”
And he insists that Moscow remains determined to ease tensions in the region: “We want to see Ukraine as an independent, sovereign, neutral country, free of military alliances and which does not create any military threat to its neighbors, including Russia”.
Kosachev acknowledges the West’s accusations that Russia has committed war crimes, but rejects them: “It is absolutely difficult for us to continue talking to Mr. Zelensky [when he’s] creating this kind of provocation.”
And he goes on to say that, despite continued Western sanctions, Moscow does not feel isolated: “I know full well that the United Nations is made up of 193 countries. I know perfectly well that only 40 countries have severe sanctions against Russia. , 40 countries out of 193, it is less than a fifth. It’s not the international community. It’s not the majority. Russia is certainly not alone. And Russia will certainly not give up because about 40 countries see the future of the world differently.
ALSO ON THE PROGRAM:
– Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finlandand one of the negotiators who helped secure a peace deal between Russia and Georgia in 2008 joins Stephen in explaining why the road to peace in Ukraine will be much more difficult than it was in Georgia , and how this conflict could actually lead to a brand new world order.