Why a Russia-Ukraine deal may be difficult to reach

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It will be difficult to find a diplomatic resolution for the war in Ukraine unless the situation on the ground changes, according to Francis Fukuyama, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

“Both of the sides have lost so much that the kind of concessions that would be needed to come to a compromise solution are just not politically acceptable,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday.

For Ukraine, it’s difficult to accept anything less than Russia withdrawing to its pre-war territory, he said.

“If the Russians don’t withdraw to the positions they held on Feb. 23, before the invasion, I don’t see how a Ukrainian president could survive that,” said Fukuyama.

“He’s basically conceding Ukrainian territory to Russian aggression,” he added.

The Russians have been demoralized, they’ve abandoned their vehicles. They don’t know why they’re fighting.

Francis Fukuyama

Stanford University

On the other hand, Russia cannot agree to letting go of any territorial gains since the war in Ukraine began.

“It would mean that [President Vladimir Putin] launched this massive war, he’s taken massive casualties and inflicted massive casualties — all for nothing,” Fukuyama said.

“A solution will have to await new developments on the battlefield,” he said.

Besides the territorial issue, Russia has said it wants Ukraine to sign a neutrality agreement, something that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he is prepared to do.

Zelenskyy also said he was willing to compromise with Russia with regard to the Donbas, a contested region in the east of Ukraine.

‘Destroyed’ and demoralized



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