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Obstacles to Peace Negotiations Between Ukraine and Russia

Written by Edda Bevilacqua

As the war between Ukraine and Russia moves into its third year, multiple factors hinder any compromise between the two nations. Problems include provisions in the constitutions of both Ukraine and Russia, domestic politics, the Crimea and the historical experiences of both Ukraine and Russia.

Russia’s constitution allowed four of Ukraine’s regions to be incorporated into Russia following the invasion of 2022. Ukraine’s constitution can only be amended by a two-thirds vote of its Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, but this reform could never pass. Domestic politics in both Ukraine and Russia allow for no compromise with the enemy.

As for the Crimea, Russians steadfastly believe the region belongs to Russia. The Crimea could never be a site for negotiations, as the Russians believe strongly in its “Russian character.” The history between Ukraine and Russia strongly suggests that Russia will not uphold any agreement with Ukraine involving anything but a military victory.

Any compromise made, at this point, may only achieve a postponement of the conflict rather than a true end to the war. A cease-fire could, in fact, allow Russia to make even further plans, much as they did during the first invasion of 2014. Continuing military support to Kyiv could ensure meaningful negotiations and a true accord and could help keep the peace.