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Ukraine, Baltics rebuke Macron for suggesting ‘security guarantees’ for Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion the West should consider Russia’s need for security guarantees if Moscow agrees to talks to end the war in Ukraine unleashed a storm of criticism in Kyiv and its Baltic allies over the weekend.

December 5, 2022
5 December 2022

Dec 4 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s
suggestion the West should consider Russia’s need for security
guarantees if Moscow agrees to talks to end the war in Ukraine
unleashed a storm of criticism in Kyiv and its Baltic allies
over the weekend.

In an interview with French TV station TF1, Macron said that
Europe needs to prepare its future security architecture and
also think “how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns
to the negotiating table.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top aide, Mykhailo
Podolyak, said that it is the world that needs security
guarantees from Russia, not the other way around.

“Civilized world needs ‘security guarantees’ from barbaric
intentions of post-Putin Russia,” Podolyak said on Twitter on
Sunday.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National
Security and Defence Council, said a “denunclearized and
demilitarized” Russia would be the best guarantee of peace not
only for Ukraine, but also for the world.

“Someone wants to provide security guarantees to a terrorist
and killer state?” Danilov wrote on Twitter.

“Instead of Nuremberg – to sign an agreement with Russia and
shake hands?”

The trials in Nuremberg to prosecute Nazi war criminals
after World War Two are seen today seen as the forerunners of
tribunals like the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Moscow denies allegations its forces have committed war crimes
in Ukraine.

After several rounds of talks earlier in the war, Kyiv and
Moscow have not met to negotiate the end of the conflict for
months. Kyiv says peace talks are only possible if Russia halts
its attacks and withdraws from all Ukrainian territories it
seized.

But the Kremlin said the West must recognise Moscow’s
declared annexation in September of “new territories” before any
talks with Putin.

Macron last week held talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in
Washington on the war in Ukraine. Biden said afterwards that
there were no conditions for U.S.-Russia discussions about
ending the conflict.

U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland,
however, said Putin’s insistence on recognition of the declared
annexations indicated he was not serious about peace talks.

“Diplomacy is obviously everyone’s objective but you have to
have a willing partner,” she told reporters after meeting
Zelenskiy in Kyiv on the weekend. “And it’s very clear … that
Putin is not sincere or ready for that.”

Zelenskiy has not commented on Macron’s suggestion.

“IT WILL NOT FLY”

Macron’s suggestion of security guarantees for Moscow has
also spurred criticism in some Baltic countries that border
Russia and see it as growing threat.

Former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb said he
“fundamentally” disagreed with Macron.

“The only security guarantees we should focus on are
essentially non-Russian,” he said on his Twitter account.
“Russia needs first to guarantee that it does not attack
others.”

Lithuania’s former foreign minister, Linas Linkevicus, said
that Russia has security guarantees as long as it does not
“attack, annex or occupy” its neighbours.

“If anyone wants to create a new security architecture that
allows a terrorist state to continue its methods of
intimidation, they should think again, it will (n)ot fly,”
Linkevicus said on Twitter.

In Kyiv, David Arakhamia, a lawmaker and member of Ukraine’s
negotiation team with Russia when negotiations were taking
place, said Ukraine is ready to provide Russia with security
guarantees as long as it met four conditions.

“For this it is enough: leave the territory of our country,
pay reparations, punish all war criminals; voluntarily surrender
nuclear weapons,” Arakhamia said on the Telegram messaging app.

“After that, we are ready to sit down at the negotiation
table and talk about security guarantees.”

Macron and Zelenskiy have held frequent talks during the
more than nine months of war, and Zelenskiy has thanked the
French president for trying to find diplomatic solutions while
also rejecting Macron’s suggestions that Kyiv could be ready to
compromise.

In May, Macron was also widely criticised for saying Russia
should not be humiliated so that when the fighting stops in
Ukraine a diplomatic solution can be found.

(Writing in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Stephen
Coates)

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