Who actually wants negotiations? Putin’s long table tells peace is far away.

Brussels, 27 April 2022 – In the press conference following the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Antonio Guterres said that “the UN Charter foresees a large set of mechanisms in which grievances can be addressed namely the recourse to the international court of justice and other mechanisms if all the other fail”

The UN Secretary General proposed a UN-Russia-Ukraine contact group to open humanitarian corridors to help save the residents especially in Mariupol.

Guterres said also that he does not see a probable UN reform and abolition of veto power both in a majority vote in the General Assembly and in Security Council as the Permanent Five would obviously veto any reform. Guterres said he sees positively an enlargement of the Security Council membership “possibly to African countries” he said answering to journalists.

His moderate stance has been soon backed by Lavrov who wanted to make the point in favour of Russian invasion of Ukraine by saying the crisis is not a consequence of the veto power in the UN and that the UN has no meaning without veto right; a big denial of the fact that Russia’s veto to the condemnation of the invasion blocked a UN military peacekeeping intervention which would have been voted consequently under Chapter VII, as the UN Charter prescribes.

Therefore this war is a consequence of the veto power in the UN Security Council.

For this reason Ukraine Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya and Zelenskyy called multiple times for a reform and veto abolition addressed as the root cause of this war. But we know this is the root cause of many other wars.

Today we are facing a nuclear war threat; whether real or not, we cannot go on considering this as many other past war, such Syria or Iraq. There’s clearly a global involvement here.

As the conflict intensifies, who want to seat to the negotiating table?

Russia is playing the part of those who wait for a response from Ukraine over a set of points of a draft agreement blaming Ukraine unwillingness to seat at the table.

Putin said to Guterres that after what happened in Bucha “the position of negotiators from Ukraine on further settlements has changed radically. They discarded previous intentions to put the security guarantees in the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol and the Donbas republics in brackets. They simply refused. And in their draft agreement on this issue, presented to us, they simply stated in two articles that these issues should be resolved at a meeting of heads of state”. This was said in the bilateral talks at the Kremlin.

US position couldn’t be more clear after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on his visit in Kyiv along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the current strategy is to see Russian forces “weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kind of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” 

This clearly means Americans have no interest in facilitating negotiations now and may seek to prolonging the fighting.

But this could be risky as the conflict could not just expand (Moldova, Baltic) but also become dangerous (nuclear weapons) and international set could change with strategic moves from China; this means that overtime the war could become more complex and out of control.

The escalation over the last two days shows what the trend is: nuclear weapons threats from Lavrov, missiles against Russian radio antennas in pro-Russian Transnistria and consequent Moldovan move to step up defense, humanitarian catastrophe in Mariupol, heavy fights in Donbas and still humanitarian corridors blocked. No ceasefire in sight.

A move for negotiations could maybe come from Zelensky who, by the way, does not seem to have any intention to give up Donbas nor Crimea.

Maybe Guterres should have gone to Kiev first and after to Moscow to mediate on possible ceasefire and restarting of negotiations. This way instead, he might not play a decisive role when arriving to Ukraine.