A seven-point plan for Ukraine to win the war and secure a sustainable peace
Presented by Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is in its second year. The human toll and destruction in Ukraine have been considerable; the regional instability substantial. The outcome of the war is not a foregone conclusion. It depends on whether international partners extend the necessary military, political, and economic support for Ukraine to win the war and secure a sustainable peace.
Ukraine has demonstrated that, with weapons and ammunition from Western partners, it is able to win the war against Russia. This means pushing out Russian forces from Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol. But winning the war is not enough. Beyond this immediate aim, securing a sustainable peace will bring stability and security for Ukraine and Europe in the long run. To ensure a sustainable peace, Ukraine must have robust security guarantees and defensive capabilities, firmly anchored in Ukraine’s accelerated path towards membership of NATO.
Ukraine’s international partners must step up their support for Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction even now as the fighting continues. Rebuilding Ukraine is intimately linked to progress on reforms, notably fighting corruption, ensuring an independent judiciary, and strengthening the rule of law, as Ukraine moves towards EU membership. This transformation will also entrench Ukraine’s democratic foundation.
Our assistance to Ukraine is and will be based on three fundamental principles:
- The right to individual and collective self-defence. According to the United Nations Charter, article 51, Ukraine has the inherent right to defend itself against the armed Russian attack. Furthermore, Ukraine has the right to ask its allies for help in a collective self-defence against this attack.
- The respect for territorial integrity. To help Ukraine retake lost land and restore the territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, the individual countries are entitled to deliver to Ukraine all the weapons needed to bring the war to a quick end.
- The right for the Ukrainian people to live in freedom and peace, and to determine the future of the Ukrainian nation. To avoid a new attack on Ukraine and secure more permanent peace and stability on the European continent, it is necessary to help the Ukrainian people build such a strong military that Ukraine can withstand any attack in the future.
The following seven points set out a vision of how Ukraine can win the war but also secure a sustainable peace. It presents a comprehensive vision of how to help Ukraine:
1.Timely, sustained, and open-ended military support to Ukraine, and a guarantee of its security until Ukraine joins NATO. Since the start of the invasion, Ukraine has received enough military support to survive as a state - but not to win the war. Now, Ukraine’s international partners need to come together to take a strategic decision that they will provide Ukraine with all the necessary military support to enable it to retake territory lost to Russia. At the same time, the military support should be codified into open-ended, binding commitments to assure Ukraine’s capacity to defend itself, including in peace time. This should be done through a combination of robust security guarantees for Ukraine by a core group of international partners together with a commitment to building up Ukraine’s defensive capabilities. This multi-decade effort has been set out in the Kyiv Security Compact. These security arrangements should be a steppingstone for Ukraine to become a member of NATO.
2. Full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders from 1991, including Crimea. As long as Crimea is under Russian control, Russia will pose an immediate threat to Ukraine. There is no victory or sustainable peace without the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. This is also the only way to ensure Europe’s stability in the long-term – as long as there are territorial disputes the risk of renewed hostilities will remain. The European Security Order is built on the respect for territorial integrity.
3.Withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian soil, and a declaration from Ukraine and the core group of states guaranteeing its security that they have no territorial claims against Russia. NATO Allies, in particular those in the core group of states guaranteeing its security, should state explicitly that they have no territorial claims against Russia. This will send a signal to Moscow and counter efforts to misconstrue reality. The cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory (including Crimea), and restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity could trigger the gradual lifting of sanctions against Russia.
4.Ensure accountability for war crimes and establish mechanisms to ensure reparations. The physical destruction and human suffering caused by Russia’s war has been staggering. A sustainable peace cannot be achieved as long as there is impunity for these crimes and no compensation for the victims. Accountability should be ensured through Ukrainian courts, the International Criminal Court, national investigations, and a new Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression. Establishing a compensation mechanism should be part of Ukraine’s recovery.
5.A grand plan for rebuilding and reconstruction of Ukraine. The recovery of Ukraine should start already now and be pursued in an accelerated manner. Ukraine’s recovery should be financed in part by the more than 300 bn euros of frozen Russian central bank assets. The reconstruction should be organised in a three-pronged process: 1. The Ukrainian government should outline the overall priorities for rebuilding Ukraine. 2. The international assistance should be administered and coordinated by the international community – G7, EU, International Financial Institutions. 3. The actual work should be conducted by the private sector in a market-oriented manner. It is essential to minimize bureaucracy and ensure the use of future-oriented technologies to build a modern and efficient Ukrainian society.
6.Entrench Ukraine’s democratic foundations and accelerate necessary reforms. A new Ukraine will emerge from the war. International partners should double down on supporting Ukraine with its reforms notably those linked to the eradication of corruption, ensuring an independent judiciary, and strengthening the rule of law. This will move Ukraine closer to the EU and solidify its democratic foundations.
7.A roadmap and firm commitment to Ukraine about membership of NATO and the EU. Ukraine’s Western partners should prioritise the processes for making Ukraine a member of NATO and EU. The war has shown that there will always be instability and the threat of a Russian attack as long as Ukraine is outside Euro-Atlantic structures. A sustainable peace can only become a reality with Ukraine firmly within these structures. Ukraine has developed considerable military capabilities and would strengthen NATO as a member. A clear and credible EU accession process will also accelerate reform in Ukraine and strengthen its democratic foundations.
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