How the West Is Quietly Forcing President Zelenskyy Into Peace Talks

While military progress has stalled, some Western allies are looking for an early exit strategy

10 March 2023

Martin Ehl

Senior Fellow

Ukraine and President Zelenskyy will be under increasing pressure from allies to at least join a negotiating table, the question is if any circumstance or guarantee could be acceptable.

Regardless of the outcome of the (supposedly already ongoing) Russian offensive in the Donbas or the (continuously announced) Ukrainian attack to the south, the Kyiv leadership, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is beginning to feel the pressure of its Western allies. So far, this is more in the realm of hints, rhetorical prodding and food for thought.

But as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags on, as Western industries struggle to supply arms and as political representations change due to election cycles, Volodymyr Zelenskyy will increasingly hear what the Wall Street Journal reports he heard recently at a dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: start thinking about peace talks with Russia.

If this push prevails in the long term, it will be a blow for those who support the idea that Central and Eastern European members of the EU and NATO – led by Poland – have gained more power due to the fact that their warnings about Russian aggression have proved right.

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Martin Ehl

Senior Fellow

Visegrad Insight Senior Fellow. Martin Ehl is the Chief Analyst at Hospodářské noviny (Economic daily)

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