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A Hail Mary on Ukraine

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A Hail Mary on Ukraine

Brookings Institution,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Saving Ukraine will take some complex negotiating. 

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A ceasefire in Ukraine and a peace accord of some sort should be a priority for both East and West, lest Vladimir Putin’s irredentist ambitions spread, the global economy falters and Europe’s security is upended. But arriving at a resolution will be a complex process. In this incisive commentary, foreign policy expert Michael E. O’Hanlon offers some scenarios, based on historical precedents, that would need the cooperation of all parties at the negotiating table.


The diplomatic end-game should be to cease hostilities and guarantee Ukraine’s future independence and security.

A workable peace accord would first produce a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. The agreement could then jettison any prospects of Ukraine joining NATO, but it must contain alternative provisions for Ukraine’s security.

The secretary-general of the United Nations could steward the particulars of this agreement.

The prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine is central to the current conflict.

A reconsideration of the prospect of Ukraine...

About the Author

Michael E. O’Hanlon is a senior fellow and the director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

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