The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than four months and the end of the conflict is increasingly uncertain. For the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger there are three possible scenarios“open to a certain extent”, about the course of the war: one in which Russia wins; another in which things escalate into a major conflict; and the third would be a victory for Ukraine and NATO.
In an interview with the British media The Spectator, Kissinger predicted that in a first scenario, Vladimir Putin would celebrate a victory by keeping the Ukrainian territory he conquered so far, “20% of Ukraine and most of Donbass, the main industrial and agricultural zone, and a strip of land along the Black Sea,” he said. In that case, NATO would be at a disadvantage not having played a role “as decisive as was thought”.
A second scenario would involve displacing Kremlin forces outside of Ukrainian territory, including those areas conquered before the war, such as Crimea, which will lead to a major war with Russia“if the war continues,” predicted the former secretary.
Finally, Kissinger predicted a situation in which “the free people” of Ukraine prevent the Russian army from advancing further on the territory, driving it back to the initial battle line, where the war began on February 24. In that case, “the current aggression will have been visibly defeated,” he said, and Ukraine could eventually reorganize itself.
“Ukraine will be reconstituted in the form it was in when the war began: the post-2014 battle line″, he indicated to The Spectator. “It will be rearmed and closely connected to NATO, if not part of it. The remaining issues could be left for negotiation.”
This last scenario would mark a great victory not only for Ukraine, but also for NATO, since “it would have been reinforced with the incorporation of Finland and Sweden, creating the possibility of defending the Baltic countries”, and “Ukraine would have the largest conventional land force in Europe linked to NATO or a member of it”.
In addition, it would be shown that the old fear that the Kremlin advances on Europe can be combated and defeated by the forces of the military alliance, and Russia “would have to face the need to coexist with Europe as an entityinstead of the United States being the main element in the defense of Europe with its nuclear forces,” Kissinger said.
In May, during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, former US Secretary of State he urged the West to force Ukraine to accept negotiations with a “status quo ante”, that is, to push Russia back to the point where it started the war without advancing on Crimea and the self-proclaimed territories of Donbass, the third scenario.
“Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the previous status quo. Continuing the war beyond that point would not be about Ukraine’s freedom, but about a new war against Russia itself.” he said then.
His analysis was rejected by Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, who compared Kissinger’s suggestions to attempts to appease the Nazis in the run-up to World War II.
“I have a feeling that instead of the year 2022, Mr. Kissinger has 1938 on his calendar,” the president said. “And that he thought he was not addressing an audience in Davos, but in old Munich.”
“Take away suggestions of this kind, that Ukraine should trade with part of its territory,” the Ukrainian presidential adviser reacted. Oleksiy Arestovych. “Children are dying here, soldiers are stopping the shrapnel with their own bodies and telling us to sacrifice territory. It will never happen.”
Asked about these reactions by The Spectator, Kissinger assured that Zelensky “had not read” his statements and that, in effect, the third scenario he proposes is the one with which the Ukrainian president most agrees.
In his most recent statements [Zelensky] has essentially accepted what I put forward at Davos. He gave an interview to Financial Times in which he fundamentally accepted the basic framework,” he said.