In an interview with Axios on Tuesday, Estonia Prime Minister Kaja Kallas warned against “peace at any price” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kallas warned pressure to reach a ceasefire could mean Russia keeping territory it occupies, which she said would embolden Putin. “If he is not punished for the crimes committed, then he will just go on. There will be a pause of one year, two years and when he gets his act together, it will all repeat in a much harder or harsher way,” she said.
Ukraine and Russia have been engaged in peace talks, but many NATO members and European countries don’t seem eager for a diplomatic solution and don’t want Ukraine to cede territory. Russia’s main demands are for Ukraine to declare neutrality, recognize Crimea as Russian territory, and recognize the independence of the Donbas republics.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that some NATO members would prefer Ukrainians keep “fighting, and dying, than to achieve a peace that comes too early or at too high a cost to Kyiv and the rest of Europe.” Echoing this sentiment, Josep Borrel, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said how the war ends matters.
“We want it to end as soon as possible, but not in any way,” Borrel said. “Because if we’re going to have a destroyed country that has been dismembered territorially and neutralized, with millions of people in exile, and millions of people dead, then no, we don’t want this war to end like this.” He said this is why Europe must “continue arming Ukraine … More weapons, that is what the Ukrainians expect of us.”
The Biden administration has shown no interest in pushing for a diplomatic solution to end the war. The last time Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was on February 15, and President Biden hasn’t attempted to hold talks with Putin. Instead, Biden has declared that Putin “cannot remain in power,” and the US has been pouring weapons into Ukraine.