Ex-Ambassador Claims Ukraine Could Have Potentially Prevented Russian Invasion

While Russian leader Vladimir Putin appears determined to rebuild the Soviet Union with his ongoing military action in neighboring Ukraine, a former U.S. ambassador to the USSR recently opined that Ukrainians are at least partially to blame for the invasion.

As Jack Matlock explained, the war “probably would have been prevented” if Ukraine had made some strategic concessions as late as the beginning of this year.

Specifically, he suggested that “if Ukraine had been willing to abide by the Minsk agreement, recognize the Donbas as an autonomous entity within Ukraine, avoid NATO military advisers, and pledge not to enter NATO” that Putin might not have called on his troops to invade.

The Minsk agreement refers to a 2015 ceasefire between the two nations following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula the previous year.

“Nevertheless, what was possible even as late as January 2022 may not be possible now,” Matlock reasoned. “The Russian annexation of additional territory raises the stakes. But the longer the war continues the harder it is going to be to avoid the utter destruction of Ukraine.”

As it stands, he determined that the “only practical way to stop the actual fighting would be to agree on a ceasefire,” though he acknowledged that the time for such an agreement has probably passed.

“This is difficult for the Ukrainians since they are liberating some of the occupied territories,” he said. “But the reality is that if the war continues, Russia is capable of damaging Ukraine more than Ukraine can damage Russia without risking a wider war.”

Matlock, who was instrumental in bringing about an end to the Cold War decades ago, also had some advice for the United States as it continues to provide funding to Ukrainian fighters.

He said that American leaders “should encourage the Ukrainians to agree to a ceasefire,” adding: “As the sponsor of the most punitive sanctions on Russia, the U.S. should use its leverage to induce Russia to agree to genuine negotiations during a ceasefire.”

Such negotiations “must be conducted in private to be successful,” he advised, lamenting that there appears to be no “will to talk and negotiate” among the interested parties.