Jan Lipavsky has admitted that “maybe this winter will be harsher” while insisting on his country’s continued support for Ukraine
Ukraine should reach an eventual peace settlement with Russia without any pressure from the West, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said on Thursday. He argued that doing so would mean Kiev was protecting not only itself, but all of Europe.
On a trip to London, the minister was asked whether Ukraine should insist on restoring its borders as of early 2014. “We shouldn’t be in a position where we dictate to Ukraine … other conditions for peace, if they are fighting for their own survival,” he stated, as quoted by The Guardian. Lipavsky added that the UN principles of territorial integrity are at stake in the ongoing conflict.
According to the nation’s top diplomat, the West should continue protecting Kiev in the long term, because its fight against Moscow “is also protecting us.”
Lipavsky vowed that Czechia would follow through on its commitment to support Ukraine despite the economic difficulties it imposed on his country. “So maybe this winter will be harsher. But the price we would pay for not being free? It’s much, much, much, much higher,” the official stated.
The minister’s comments come after General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that Ukraine’s chances of “kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine” are not high. Earlier, the general indicated that the upcoming winter might create a diplomatic opportunity for Kiev.
However, on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that, historically, negotiations with Ukraine had shown that “without conversations with the West, Kiev’s stance is quite fluid.” As such, the participation of Western nations in the dialogue could be a “guiding and reinforcing element” of possible talks, he added.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that it would not rule out talks with Kiev, accusing Ukraine of a lack of engagement. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has set out conditions for negotiations with Russia, which include, among others, the “restoration of [Ukraine’s] territorial integrity.”
Meanwhile, in October, the Donbass republics, as well as the former Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye, officially joined the Russian Federation after a referendum. All four overwhelmingly voted to become part of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to consider the residents of these regions Russian citizens “forever” and promised to protect the territories “with all [of Russia’s] strength and resources.”