A negotiated settlement is the only way to end the war safely, but the outlook is further away than ever

The stakes of not reaching a settlement are high. For the world, there is the hovering specter of nuclear escalation that could rapidly shroud all of Europe and North America in devastation, as well as the government’s staggering economic instability fueled by resulting supply shocks. of the war.

For Ukrainians, that means more death, destruction and economic chaos, with the World Bank predicting the invasion will shrink its economy by 45% this year.

Washington has refused diplomatic engagement with Moscow, setting Russia’s ‘irreversible’ withdrawal from Ukraine, so it does not have the ability to invade again in two or three years, as a condition for lifting sanctions – a demand that is difficult to define in concrete and practical terms.

This has been coupled with a series of belligerent statements by US and Western officials suggesting that US and UK goals are fomenting regime change in Moscow or, at the very least, weakening Russia.

Yet despite all the talk of renewed Western unity since the start of the war, the United States and its allies are divided on this issue. Unlike Washington, France, Germany and Italy have all kept diplomatic lines with Russia open since the start of the war and called for a ceasefire and peace talks throughout. even as they approved ongoing arms transfers to Ukraine.

The same goes for NATO member Turkey, which brokered peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow in March. Last week, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, emphasizing that “a ceasefire must be achieved as soon as possible”, proposed a four-point peace plan: a frontline ceasefire for evacuations, followed by Ukrainian neutrality, autonomy for the territories, and an EU-Russia peace deal that trades a Russian withdrawal for an easing of sanctions.

“It can be a good starting point that should be approved by others, the United States obviously,” says Irrera. “They shouldn’t stay away from this, not just because they’re relevant, but because they have to take responsibility for what’s happening in the region.”

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