What Macron's 'Security Guarantees' Mean for Ukraine War
Ukraine is facing a grim festive period. Civilians are hunkered down in below-freezing conditions with periodic power as Russian missiles and drones continue Moscow's punishing infrastructure offensive. Ukrainian troops, bogged down by mud, are still pushing forwards gradually in the south and northeast, while defenders around Bakhmut are locked in hellish combat with Russian regulars and mercenaries.
Despite the horror, the prospect of peace talks still appears near zero. Negotiations—which began the day of Russia's latest invasion on February 24—were from the beginning beset by mistrust and espionage, and soon collapsed entirely as the war deepened and Russian atrocities mounted.
Kyiv has adopted ambitious war goals: full liberation of all Ukrainian territory per its 1991 border including Crimea, war crime prosecutions for Russian leaders, reparations from Moscow, and future security guarantees akin to NATO membership.
'Russia Will Be at the Table'
For Ukrainians and their allies in NATO's more hawkish nations, Macron's focus on peace poses the danger of undermining the unexpectedly unified Western response to Russia's invasion. But Russia's war will have to conclude with negotiations of some kind, negotiations that cannot happen without working diplomatic channels.
Thomas Gomart, the director of the French Institute of International Relations, told Newsweek that Macron is pursuing a dual message.
"France supports Ukraine with absolutely no reservations, and second that in the end—and no one knows when the end will be, except presidents Zelensky and Putin, depending also on Putin's personal future—Russia will be at the table," he said.
"The basic idea is just to say that whatever the future is, and even if Russia is defeated, Russia will continue to exist," Gomart, who accompanied Macron on his recent visit to Washington, D.C., said. "It's as simple as that."
Macron has cast himself as Europe's premier statesman, especially since German Chancellor Angela Merkel left power in 2021. He will undoubtedly be central to any future EU-NATO outreach to Moscow.
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