Once again, prominent German figures, journalists and academics are calling for the West to make more efforts to find a negotiated solution between Russia and Ukraine. The longer the war lasted, the less clear it became as to what the goal of sanctions and arms deliveries was.
In an appeal published in the weekly newspaper "Zeit", celebrities, journalists and scientists called on Western governments to do everything in their power to ensure that the warring factions Russia and Ukraine "come to a negotiated solution as soon as possible". A "major diplomatic offensive" is needed. The post is titled "Ceasefire Now!" titled and questions the sense of continued military support for Ukraine. The signers of the appeal include the philosophers Svenja Flasspöhler and Richard David Precht, the scientist Wolfgang Merkel, the General a. D. Erich Vad and TV presenter Ranga Yogeshwar.
The text states that Ukraine has so far been able to defend itself against the "brutal Russian war of aggression", also thanks to Western economic sanctions and arms deliveries. However, over time it becomes increasingly unclear "which war aim is associated with them". After all, a Ukrainian victory including the reconquest of all occupied areas - including Crimea - is considered unrealistic by military experts, and Russia is militarily superior. "Continuing the war with the goal of Ukraine's complete victory over Russia means thousands more war victims dying for a goal that seems unrealistic," the signatories conclude.
In addition, the consequences of the war are no longer limited to Ukraine. "Its continuation is causing massive humanitarian, economic and environmental emergencies around the world." In Africa, for example, there is a risk of famine with millions of potential victims. In addition, there would be rapidly increasing prices and a fertilizer shortage. All of this could lead to a "destabilization of the global situation".
The appeal goes on to say that the West must stand united against Russian aggression and "further revanchist claims." However, a continuation of the war in Ukraine is "not the solution to the problem". The cartoonists warn of a possible escalation of the conflict and cite Moscow's announcement that it will deliver nuclear-capable missiles to Belarus as a sign of this.
Against this background, a negotiated solution alone could "prevent a war of attrition lasting years with its fatal local and global consequences, as well as a military escalation that could even lead to the use of nuclear weapons." The appeal makes no concrete suggestions as to how the West could bring the Russian government in particular to negotiations without ignoring Ukraine's interests.
It only says that this does not mean "dictating a surrender to Ukraine". A "dictated peace by Putin" should not exist. Rather, the international community must create "conditions" under which negotiations are only possible. "This includes the statement that the Western actors have no interest in continuing the war and will adapt their strategies accordingly." This also includes "the willingness to internationally secure the terms of a ceasefire and the results of peace negotiations".
The West must persuade Kyiv and Moscow to suspend the fighting; Sanctions and military support would have to be "integrated into a political strategy aimed at gradual de-escalation up to the point of achieving a ceasefire". So far, "no concerted effort" has been made in this regard, which is why it cannot be assumed that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want to negotiate.
Criticism comes from the military expert Carlo Masala from the Bundeswehr University in Munich, among others. Signatories demanded things without presenting solutions, Masala notes on Twitter. "Yes, it is rightly pointed out that this 'regional war' has many global consequences. But there is only one culprit: Russia. It is not the war per se, but Russia's war strategy." For a diplomatic solution, there must be incentives for both sides. And Russia will "have every concession on its part expensively, very expensively gilded."