German Proposal for “Ending the War with a Negotiated Peace”

Four German experts have released an in-depth proposal for ending the war in Ukraine before it spirals out of control. First released Aug. 28, their analysis makes reference to the Chinese peace proposal from Feb. 24 of this year, which offers “a reasonable approach” to negotiations, but builds on it substantially in what is likely the most thorough plan thus far.

The four experts are: Professor Dr. Peter Brandt, historian and the son of former Chancellor Willy Brandt; Hajo Funke professor of political science at the Free University of Berlin; Gen. Harald Kujat (ret.), former Bundeswehr Chief of Staff (2000-2002) and former Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO (2002-2005); and Horst Teltschik, a former top diplomat and close advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and subsequently president of the Munich Security Conference.

Their text acknowledges Ukraine’s right to self-defense of the nation, but recalls the obligation of Ukraine and its allies “to exercise reason, to not add to the increase of violence and destruction, and to politically promote the attainment of a just and lasting peace”. The authors insist that “neither Russia nor Ukraine can win this war”, and therefore urgent peace negotiations are required now. Otherwise, “There is an increasing risk of escalation to the ‘extreme,’ a military conflict between NATO and Russia, with the real danger of a nuclear war limited to the European continent”.

They point out that “So far, there is no evidence that the political goal of [Russia’s] the ‘special military operation’ is to conquer and occupy all of Ukraine, after which Russia would attack NATO countries,” although attacks further west cannot be ruled out. In addition, “Putin was willing to negotiate with Ukraine and certainly still is – on condition that the other side, i.e. the American, Ukrainian and Western sides, also want negotiations.”

For the four German experts, “the war could have been prevented, had the West accepted a neutral status for Ukraine – as Zelenskyy was initially quite willing to do, renounced NATO membership, and enforced the Minsk II agreement for minority rights for the Russian-speaking population”, and later on, if the West “had allowed the Istanbul negotiations to be concluded. Now once again, and possibly for the last time, it is the responsibility of the “collective West, and the United States in particular, to set a course toward cease-fire and peace negotiations.”

The authors make a very detailed proposal comprising three phases: 1) Ceasefire, 2) Peace Negotiations, 3) A European Security and Peace Order. The first phase involves the cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a UN-directed commission which will oversee the process. The second is more detailed, and includes the withdrawal of troops by both sides and the establishment of security agreements for Ukraine, as well as approaches to resolve the status of the new Donbass republics and Crimea — but only to be “resolved by renouncing military force.”

The final phase then calls for a new security order for Europe, that “can ensure Ukraine’s security and freedom, in which Ukraine and Russia have their place.” It also requires that “Ukraine’s geostrategic position no longer play a key role in the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and Russia.”

The full proposal can be read in English translation here.

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