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Are there any prominent politicians in the West who are encouraging Ukraine to just give up and officially surrender Crimea/Donbass to Russian control in order to end the war?

NB: I am not saying surrendering would be a wise move. I'm just asking if any Western politicians think its the right move.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JJJ
    Nov 3, 2022 at 22:46
  • Does Elon count? Nov 4, 2022 at 22:59
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    @SurpriseDog given that he received a reply from Zelenskyy for his proposal, sure Nov 4, 2022 at 23:26
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    @SurpriseDog In the chat I recommended to widen the question beyond 'politician' to include Elon and such. Easily a dozen of super-eminent such could be found eg Chomsky [Yeah I said academics/journalists etc but did not have a good classifier for Elon! Rich man? Entrepreneur? Tycoon? Nothing exactly fits...]
    – user44167
    Nov 5, 2022 at 3:23
  • If you consider the former prime minister of Israeli "prominent" (do you?), then - he had not called for this, but suggested that it would be a practical arrangement. If you want I can make that an an answer.
    – einpoklum
    Feb 14, 2023 at 20:39

6 Answers 6

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There are plenty of people in "the West" who support immediate negotiations to stop the fighting, which is either a tacit acknowledgement of territorial loss or completely naive. The prominence of these people is a judgement question. A small list of examples:

  • Gerhard Schröder is a former chancellor of Germany, now employed as a Russian gas lobbyist. Less prominent than he was two decades ago, but still well known, and in support of negotiations. He blamed Ukraine for the failure of talks.
  • For instance, Sahra Wagenknecht supported such talks, and she is a member of the German parliament for The Left, a post-communist party. I would not hesitate to call her a prominent member of the opposition.
  • Likewise, Tino Chrupalla supported immediate talks. He is a member of the German parliament for the AfD, a nazi party (regarding this characterization and those who question it, see the chat). Also a prominent member of the opposition.

In "the West" people can be prominent critics of the government position, and not be jailed for that.

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    It would be useful to add some quotes of what these persons said exactly. The English wiki page on Wagenknecht (that you linked to) says nothing about what she might have said about (ending) the war. Only says "Wagenknecht was a prominent defender of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, arguing on February 20, 2022 that while the United States was trying to "conjure up" an invasion of Ukraine, "“Russia has in fact no interest to march into Ukraine.” After Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Wagenknecht admitted that her judgment had been wrong." Jul 15, 2022 at 6:33
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    The similar page on Chrupalla says nothing about the war whatsoever. Jul 15, 2022 at 6:38
  • @Fizz, I added German news sources. I'm not aware of good English-language summaries,
    – o.m.
    Jul 15, 2022 at 10:19
  • The discussion about whether or not the AfD can be called a "nazi party" has been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Politics Meta, or in Politics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Philipp
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:58
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NATO Chief-of-Staff Stian Jenssen suggested that Ukraine could join NATO in return for ceding territory.

Ukraine could conceivably become a NATO member in exchange for ceding parts of its sovereign territory to Russia, NATO Chief-of-Staff Stian Jenssen said on Aug. 15, as reported by Norwegian outlet Verdens Gang.

"I think that a solution could be for Ukraine to give up territory, and get NATO membership in return," said Jenssen.

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Probably Silvio Berlusconi's recent interview can be read like this. When asked whether it would take two parties (i.e. Russia's agreement) for a ceasefire, Berlusconi answers "no" and then says that:

  • the war is Zelensky's fault for "attacking the Donbas republics",
  • the US could pressure Ukraine into an immediate (next day) ceasefire by promising Ukraine a 6-9T$ "Marshall plan" for reconstruction, while at the same time threatening to cut all aid in the alternative.

So, presumably, Berlusconi is talking about some kind of unilateral ceasefire by Ukraine. It's hard to see how something like that doesn't entail Ukraine giving up the territory that has been explicitly annexed by Russia, but which Russia doesn't fully control at the moment, although admittedly Berlusconi isn't that explicit.

Berlusconi adds that he has a "very, very, very negative" opinion about the behavior of Zelensky and that if he were in Giorgia Meloni's shoes (i.e. Italy's PM) he would have never agreed to meet Zelensky personally, at least in the current circumstances.

In May last year, Berlusconi was quoted saying:

I believe that united Europe must make a peace proposal, trying to get the Ukrainians to accept Putin's demands.

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    It would be a bit questionable if Berlusconi is really such a prominent politician anymore. He is still a senator in Italy, but otherwise he seems to be rather marginalized. It's probably still good enough for the question. Feb 14, 2023 at 19:27
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    I’ve accepted this answer because Berlusconi is still well known worldwide and holds government office. Feb 14, 2023 at 22:02
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    @Trilarion: also, still formally the leader of his Forza Italia party... which is a member of the current ruling coalition. Even though even some members of his own party disagree on the Ukraine war issue. Arguably someone like Orban has more power, but Orban's statements weren't so explicit, IIRC, besides clearly not liking Zelensky. Feb 14, 2023 at 23:11
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    @Trilarion: and Berlusconi's comments were not simply ignored either. The EPP decided to pass on meeting in Naples as a result politico.eu/article/… Feb 20, 2023 at 18:52
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Robert Fico said something similar in his recently published interview. Slovak PM calls Russian withdrawal from Donbass and Crimea 'absolutely unrealistic'.

"If someone thinks that the only solution [to the conflict in Ukraine] is that the Russians will return to the border where they were [before the escalation of the conflict in February 2022] and leave Crimea, it is absolutely unrealistic. We need to adapt to the new reality that has now emerged," Fico said in an interview with the hlavnespravy.sk news outlet. "It is naive to think that the Russians will leave Donbass and Lugansk, it is naive to think that the Russians will leave Crimea," he emphasized.

The Slovak prime minister opined that there is no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine. "I really want this war to end. Otherwise we will see a large number of casualties on both sides," he said. "I can't imagine what peace between Russia and Ukraine will look like, but it will come and it will be painful," the top official pointed out.

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  • I think by now most of Europe says the same. Feb 21 at 0:35
  • @Dolphin 613 Motorboat At least the EU leadership says exactly the opposite.
    – user48937
    Feb 21 at 12:20
  • Not quite. Even Borrell's statement on the 12th makes no claims Ukraine can take back all that. Just rather vague talk of winning. As opposed to capitulating to all of Putin's demands. Russia doesn't have much of an incentive to accept less in peace that it would win by continuing their offensives. Feb 21 at 12:39
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According to Republican Senator J. D. Vance of Ohio, Ukraine may have to cede land to Russia:

“What’s in America’s best interest is to accept Ukraine is going to have to cede some territory to the Russians and we need to bring this war to a close,” Vance, of Ohio, said on CNN’s State of the Union. “The idea that Ukraine was going to throw Russia back to the 1991 border was preposterous – nobody actually believed it.”

Source: Sam Levine, Republican senator says Ukraine may have to cede land to Russia to end war, The Guardian, 11 December 2023.


Note that Vance is considered a possible candidate for Vice President if Trump is re-elected:

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The previous Israeli PM, Bennett, gave Zelensky advice to agree to Russian conditions and give up some territory as can be read in this article.

As mentioned in my other answer to the pacifist position on Ukraine, Kissinger would be the most prominent politician talking about possibility for Ukraine to give up some territory for peace deal.

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    Somewhat dubious source. Publicly Israel later denied that they gave such advice axios.com/2022/03/11/… Jul 15, 2022 at 10:25
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    Also, is Israel "in the west"? Jerusalem is only slightly west of Moscow and well east of St Petersburg.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 4, 2022 at 9:53
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    @StuartF Japan is in the west. Australia is in the west. It’s not about where you are on a globe.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 9, 2023 at 11:54

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