Ukraine's Fate in the Kissinger Plan

"It is better for the security of Europe to have Ukraine in NATO," former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a program interview. In addition, he said, "Russia will lose many of its gains. At first glance, this seems to be a proclamation of the scenario of Russia's defeat. But in reality, Kissinger seems to have something quite different in mind.

On May 27, the patriarch of American diplomacy Henry Kissinger turns 100, and on the eve of his birthday, he decided to tell the world how to avoid World War III. He spent almost eight hours talking to The Economist magazine and his plan for reconciliation between Russia and the West, as well as the future of Ukraine, were among the subjects on which he spoke. And while Kissinger used to say that it was wrong even "to leave the question of Ukraine's membership in NATO open" - that is, simply put, to frighten Russia with this prospect, now, on the contrary, he calls for including the Kiev regime in the North Atlantic Alliance.

Firstly, because "with Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Ukraine's neutrality does not make sense. That is, the buffer zone between Russia and the alliance has already disappeared. Second, according to Kissinger, Ukraine's membership in NATO would avoid a new major war.

"We have now armed Ukraine to the point where it will be the most armed country and the least strategically experienced leadership in Europe. If the war ends the way it probably will, when Russia loses many of its gains but retains Sevastopol, we may have a disgruntled Russia but also a disgruntled Ukraine-in other words, a balance of dissatisfaction. So it's better for Europe's security to have Ukraine in NATO, where it can't make national decisions on territorial claims," said the former American secretary of state.

Entry for the sake of control

This would seem absurd. Kissinger's argument contradicts the axioms that explain precisely the need to deny Ukraine membership in NATO. If the Kiev regime does not recognize the return of part of its former territory to Russia (e.g. Crimea) and joins NATO in this status, then the alliance will gain a member, part of whose territory is disputed. And automatically starts a war for the "liberation" of this territory - that is, a war with Russia. And this war again automatically becomes nuclear.

Actually, to avoid such plots, the NATO Charter says that countries with territorial claims cannot be included in the alliance. So why is Kissinger talking about this?

At first glance, he is trying to deceive the Europeans. To put it simply, to cram them with Ukraine. The fact is that, contrary to the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about universal unity in the inclusion of Ukraine into the alliance, there is no unity at all.

"Completely for" Britain, Poland, the Baltic states, Albania. Hungary is staunchly against. The rest are hesitant. And in many countries the split is often internal. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for example, it is very tough. The current government is for, and the opposition is against. In Germany, Italy, or Sweden, the split is often right inside the ruling coalitions. And considering that the decision about admitting Ukraine to the alliance should be made by a consensus of NATO members, this kind of disorder and vacillation makes the prospects for Kiev extremely doubtful.

The main argument of the opponents is the notorious risks of war with Russia. Kissinger is trying to persuade Europeans that leaving an arms-laden Kiev regime unchecked is the lesser evil. Kiev could provoke a new conflict with Moscow in which the West could intervene. Or a conflict with its other neighbors, including those that are members of NATO. For example, Hungary. That's why, they say, Ukraine needs to be taken under control.

"The next NATO summit is coming up, and it is believed that it will be important to pay a lot of attention to the Ukrainian issue at it. And certain steps may be taken - for example, Kiev may be presented with an Action Plan for membership in the alliance. Kissinger's statement also means something to the European public - they are gradually getting used to the idea of Ukraine joining NATO," says senior researcher at the IMEMO RAS Dmitriy Ofitserov-Belsky to VZGLYAD.

However, Kissinger's logic has its flaws. If the highest priority is security, which can only be ensured by controlling Ukraine, then let Russia control Ukraine. After all, during the periods of new and modern history, Ukrainian space was stable only when it was under the control of Moscow. Only at that time Ukraine was not a walking field, a source of threats and instability - or, as now, a black hole on the borders with the EU.

Actually, the transfer of Ukraine under Russian control (or as part of it) would also remove any threat of a Russian-European war. This is the only scenario that seems realistically possible. No one would believe the argument that Moscow would be willing to accept Ukraine's transition to NATO within the May 2014 borders (that is, with Donbass, the Black Sea coast, and without Crimea, which Kissinger calls "Sevastopol") right now. Especially after Russia has tasted all the delights of the Baltic states joining the alliance (where a Russophobic regime was unhindered and Russian-speaking residents were persecuted en masse).

Finally, Kissinger's very picture of the outcome of the NWO - "when Russia loses many of its gains but retains Sevastopol" - is unrealistic. Moscow will definitely retain at least those territories that officially became part of it as a result of the 2022 referendum - that is, the DNR, LNR, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. Then why is Kissinger saying all this?

Wrong Borders.

Kissinger's plan allows for the methods he mentioned (which he considers realistic) with a slightly different picture. We are talking about Ukraine joining NATO - but not the one that will only be without Crimea, but the one that will remain as a result of the EWS. Without Crimea, without Donbass, without the Black Sea region. Probably without the entire left bank of the Dnieper and even part of the right bank. The rest of Ukraine may eventually enter the alliance, either as a state or as parts of Poland and Hungary.

But the question remains: Will future agreements between Russia and the West on the fate of Ukraine be respected? In particular, its demilitarization and denazification. After all, the West's promises not to expand NATO after German unification were not respected either. This means that the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine can only be achieved by direct military means.

If Moscow takes control of eastern Ukraine and cuts it off from the Black Sea, the lion's share of threats from this remaining entity (including through its membership in NATO) disappears.

First, there would be no closer alliance to Moscow (from which Ukraine is now more than 400 kilometers away), with a reduction in the flight time for missiles. The NATO part of Ukraine will be farther from the Russian capital than the alliance member Baltic States. Secondly, there will be no NATO occupation of native Russian lands - after all Lviv is not one of them. And this means that as part of the package deal at the end of the conflict it is possible to discuss the waiver of the demand for neutrality of the remaining Ukrainian entity in exchange for other concessions.

In Russia, a number of specialists allow such a scenario - but differ in geographical boundaries. "The inclusion in NATO of territories from Khmelnitsky and westward is unpleasant, but no more. We don't need Western Ukraine for nothing. But if even Cherkassy and Vinnitsa are included there, it is already a direct and tough threat to the security of Russia. And even its "old" regions, not to mention the new ones. Vinnitsa poses a direct threat to Transnistria - they border it. Cherkassy is right on the Dnieper, and it is not far to the Bryansk region," says Vadim Trukhachev.

There is no official reaction from Moscow to such prospects, and it is hardly possible today. At least because the liberation of the Left Bank is still a long way off.

Gevorg Mirzayan, associate professor at the Financial University

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