(Note: Austria and Sweden are both in the EU, but neither is in NATO)

Today, March 16th, the Russians are talking about a possible compromise (which for now Ukraine is cool on, due to ongoing war *). A number of news sources have talked about it.

Talk of ‘compromise’ as Russia-Ukraine peace talks set to resume

He (Foreign Minister Lavrov) said President Vladimir Putin had spoken about neutrality, along with security guarantees for Ukraine without NATO enlargement, as one possible variant in February.

The Kremlin also said on Wednesday that a demilitarised Ukraine with its own army along the lines of Austria or Sweden was being looked at as a possible compromise.

Question: In this latest set of proposals, has Russia indicated it would be open to Ukraine admission to the EU? That was after all one of the elements which precipitated the 2014 Ukrainian crisis.

Have they on the contrary indicated it is still a red line for them?

* same article, quoting Ukrainian reaction:

But the Ukrainian presidency shortly after said it rejected proposals of neutrality models based on Austria or Sweden.

“Ukraine is now in a direct state of war with Russia. As a result, the model can only be ‘Ukrainian’ and only on legally verified security guarantees,” its top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said in comments published by Zelenskyy’s office.

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    Is there more explanation for what "demilitarised" with its own Army means. That seems like a contradiction to me, but maybe someone spells it out better.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 19:53
  • That is indeed a highly revelant aspect, but I am only interested in EU membership in this question. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 19:54
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    @ohwilleke: I think the Russian public proposals are all impossible to parse like that. Which is why some Western observers are saying that Russia isn't seriously negotiating, but just stalling for time to win the war on the ground, while hoping to forestall more sanctions with this talk of negotiations. Generally, when Lavrov is asked about a ceasefire, he answers he's not authorized to discuss it, but will pass the message upstream etc. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 20:26
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    @ohwilleke: FWTW "Russia’s chief negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, said the sides are discussing a possible compromise idea for a future Ukraine with a smaller, non-aligned military." At least that doesn't contain a contradiction in terms. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 20:35
  • 1
    @RogerVadim Then you could ask for it in a question. But don't you know the answer already? Russia calls it "special military operation", so they will most likely not officially have declared war. Although for all practical purposes their description is just an euphemism for war, isn't it. They are simply waging war on Ukraine and that's what the person in this quote probably meant. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 10:18

1 Answer 1


TL; DR Russian position will depend on whether the EU legislation would apply to the eastern regions (Donetsk and Luhansk republics)

NATO and EU membership for Ukraine reflect respectively military and economic aspects of the confrontation.

The military aspect pretty much sums up to

  • Control of the Russian naval base in Crimea (that was the main point in 2014)
  • Stationing of NATO forces/systems in Ukraine (which was a potential possibility before the war)

The economic aspect is about:

  • the eastern regions (self-proclaimed republics) where Russia has economic interests in the natural resources and industry
  • controls the gas pipeline passing through Ukraine or a possibility to bypass this pipeline

In view of the first economic bullet above, it is premature to speak (or trust any Russian statements) regarding the Ukrainian membership in the EU, before the status of these republics is decided. The arrangement similar to Cyprus, whose EU memebrship de facto does not extend to its northern part is a more likely model here than Sweden or Austria.

On 1 May 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union, together with nine other countries. Cyprus was accepted into the EU as a whole, although the EU legislation is suspended in Northern Cyprus until a final settlement of the Cyprus problem.

  • 2
    The first paragraph seems incomplete.
    – o.m.
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 16:38
  • This doesn't answer the question in the slightest bit, which was limited to what had been communicated, by Russia, about EU membership. Something I reiterated in a comment about what demilitarized might mean. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 20:09
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica As I indicated in my answer, the question cannot be meaningfully answered given the current situation. If you insist on the narrow interpretation, than it has to be closed.
    – Morisco
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 20:32
  • the narrow interpretation is "did Russia say anything or not about EU membership? now". that's answerable enough, within the limit that evidence of absence is hard by nature. you can vote to close if you want. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 21:05
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica precisely, the question asks for evidence of absence. But I also think that politics is more about understanding why Russia does certain things than what exactly was said
    – Morisco
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 5:56

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