A former top British officer in NATO has argued that the West must refuse to negotiate with Russia on ending the Ukraine crisis
Retired UK General Richard Shirreff, formerly deputy commander of NATO, has called for members of the Western military bloc to refuse any negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the Ukraine crisis.
“Any hint of negotiation will be exactly what Putin is looking for because it will mean he can hang on to bits of what he’s got,” Shirreff said this week in a Times Radio interview. “And make no mistake: His longer-term aims and the aims of any ultranationalist following Putin will be to continue the war, continue to try and rebuild the Russian empire and to wipe Ukraine off the map.”
Shirreff, who retired in 2014 after a four-year stint as the top British officer in NATO, argued that a negotiated settlement to end the fighting wouldn’t achieve anything. “All it will do is allow Russia to regain, rebuild, regenerate, retrain and have another go. The bottom line is this: There will not be peace in Europe while Putin or a Putin look-alike is in the Kremlin.”
We are going to have to fight a second cold war to prevent a third world war.
Shirreff’s comments suggest that NATO shouldn’t settle for anything less than a complete Ukrainian victory on the battlefield and regime change in Moscow. US President Joe Biden called for regime change in the Kremlin last March, but he said days later that he was merely expressing his “moral outrage” over the conflict, not communicating official US policy.
“Any hint of negotiation is exactly what Putin wants.”
— Times Radio (@TimesRadio) November 9, 2022
The top-ranking US general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, said on Wednesday that this week’s pullback of Russian forces in Kherson Region could lead to peace talks. “When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” he said. However, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan insisted that Washington wasn’t pressuring Ukraine to the negotiating table.
Shirreff said the pullback from Kherson shows that Western aid to Ukraine is “money well spent.” The longtime NATO hawk previously pushed the bloc to seek a permanent military presence in the Baltic states to counter “Russian aggression.”