Make allowances to bring bloodshed to a swift end

There are indications that a breakthrough might emerge if both sides tone down their strident views

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Published: Wed 16 Mar 2022, 11:51 PM

The ongoing talks between Russian and Ukranian officials, despite military activity on the ground, could be early indicators of a likely breakthrough, which could result in an end to the mayhem and improve relations between the two troubled nations. While both sides are battling it out in Ukrainian cities, officials of the two countries continue their video discussions aimed at bringing about a rapport and end the mindless violence. Fortunately, there are indications that a breakthrough might emerge if both sides tone down their strident views and show a willingness to reconcile differences and patch up for a better tomorrow.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has admitted that the talks are getting realistic but more time is needed to reach an agreement. He also suggested that his country could accept international security guarantees, which many analysts consider a break from Ukraine’s past insistence on joining Nato. Moscow, of course, is totally opposed to its joining the alliance. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also admitted that the two countries are close to an agreement. Russia has for long demanded that Ukraine be kept out of Nato. Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chief negotiator, has revealed that Ukraine was keen on getting the status of a neutral state, such as Austria or Sweden, which a Kremlin spokesperson acknowledged could be seen as a compromise agreement. The conflict has prolonged for three weeks, taking a dreadful toll in terms of military and civilian casualties on both sides. Cities have been destroyed and about three million people, mostly women and children from Ukraine, are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. It has also taken a huge toll on global economics, badly hurting the weaker nations.

Russia is also under pressure to end the military actions in Ukraine. Besides the strong action initiated by the Western countries in recent days, it is also facing the pinch of the ongoing conflict. On Wednesday, the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend military operations in Ukraine immediately. While Russia initially rubbished the “apparent absurdity of the lawsuit” and skipped the hearings, it did file a written document asking the ICJ not to impose any measures. The two countries should ensure that the negotiations are wrapped up at the earliest to bring an end to the continuing bloodshed. This is not the time for tough posturing and engaging in a conflict; allowances must be made, concessions given, and military actions brought to a swift end. There are numerous instances from the past, especially in Europe, of nations agreeing to live together without battling it out. Russia and Ukraine have to set an example, by reconciling their differences and closing an unsavoury chapter that threatens to blow up normalcy in a crucial part of the globe.

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