THE UKRAINE CRISIS: THROUGH THE PERSPECTIVE OF A YOUNG TURKISH MULTINATIONAL

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AN OPEN LETTER TO WORLD LEADERS:

2021 ended with mounting speculations in the international system on an upcoming conflict. In December 2021, Washington Post published an unclassified U.S. military document on the increased presence of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border. However, many believed in the success of diplomatic talks checking a war on European soil. Well, those beliefs were in vain. As of now, the Russia-Ukraine war is a month old.

Timeline of political leadership in Ukraine and Russia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union
Image courtesy- Aljazeera

The Crisis

The conflict in Ukraine is a clash of powerful nations. As you may know better, the most crucial reason for the “Special Military Operation” organized by Russia is their concerns about the expansion of the Western (NATO) alliance to the east, into Ukraine, which they see as their sphere of influence. Exposed to the military action of Russia, the Ukrainian State, unfortunately, received the political, military and economic aid that it insisted on from the Western States community, either on a limited scale or not at all.

Sights of destructed residential areas due to Russian shelling in Ukraine’s Sumi region
Image courtesy- of Reuters

As of the date of my writing to you, more than three million civilians are paying the price of Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, which is almost left alone in the international arena. Unfortunately, Ukraine, Russia, which organized a military operation against it and prepared the way for EU and NATO membership, predicted the invasion of Crimea and this military operation, but neither produced a proactive policy in these two membership processes nor reacted to the occupation of Crimea. It remained among the Western alliance forces that did not/could not provide the security it guaranteed to Ukraine. Ukraine is the party that pays the price in the conflict of interest between Russia and the West.

Millions of civilians have fled from their homes in Ukraine, seeking refuge in neighbouring nations.
Image courtesy- of Reuters

An Agreement Negotiation between Ukraine and Russia

One of the essential principles in resolving international disputes is negotiating an agreement that includes principles that both sides can agree on.

“These negotiations should consider the demands of both parties. Further, it should draw an agreement with reference to past examples of arbitration and disputes.”

Judging by the parties’ demands, the significant demands summarized by Russia are as follows:

  • Ukraine ending the conflict
  • Amends its constitution to maintain impartiality
  • Recognition of Crimea as Russian territory
  • Recognition of the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk Republics as independent states
Image courtesy-Aljazeera

The following are the demands from Ukraine:

  • Russia’s end to military action
  • Political and military withdrawal from Crimea
  • Ending its political and military support to the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk Republics
  • Disarmament of the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk Republics

Diplomatic and Political Methods for a Holistic Solution to the Ukraine Crisis: AN OPEN LETTER TO WORLD LEADERS

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials are still going on amid the war. Nevertheless, none seems to have a fruitful outcome so far.

Russian and Ukrainian officials at the third round of peace talks in Belarus on March 7 2022
Image courtesy- of DW

Here I propose a few suggestions that could de-escalate the current conflict.

  • Russia’s political and military withdrawal from Crimea, in return, the 99-year lease of the part of the Kerch Peninsula east of the 36 East Meridian to Russia as a military base, the new border (36 East Meridian) to be created, by taking the midline, a distance of 5 km to the east and west of the midline designated as UN Line of Control.
  • Crimea, Sevastopol provinces gaining the status of special regions of the State of Ukraine based on the status of Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions and their disarmament under the supervision of the UN Commission
  • Based on the regions controlled by the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk Republics on February 24, 2022, these regions will gain the status of a special region of the State of Ukraine based on the status of Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, and disarming these regions under the supervision of the UN Commission.
  • Addition of neutrality articles to the Ukrainian Constitution based on the articles of neutrality in the Japanese Constitution
  • Determination of the 5 km distance to both sides of Ukraine’s land borders with Russia and Belarus as the UN Line of Control
  • Return of economic sanctions on Russia to pre-February 24, 2022 level

Way Forward

I believe that my country, Turkey, will play a leading role in resolving the dispute between Ukraine and Russia. These principles, which I have developed based on historical and diplomatic examples, could improve Ukraine-Russia negotiations. In my opinion, these principles could not only preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity and independence but also will resolve Russia’s political, strategic and demographic concerns.
I hope that the world leaders will come to a conclusion soon and bring an end to the suffering of innocent people. For I know,

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

Bertrand Russell

Diplomacy is the solution, and this is a lesson for all of us to strengthen our diplomatic channels, repose trust and work together to synergise our efforts. There is already too much that requires our attention if humanity needs to survive. The burdens of war only diminish our chances of securing a better future for our upcoming generations.

You may also like to read the article Role and Relevance of UNSC in Interstate Conflicts Prevention and Mitigation: An Analysis from the perspective of Russia-Ukraine Conflict!

About the Author

Leo Selim SOİKKELİ

Leo Selim Soikkeli is a Finnish Turkish IB student with knowledge and understanding of diplomacy, conflict resolution and international relations. He has attended more than 20 Model United Nations Conferences in Turkey and abroad as a member of the executive board, committee chair, and delegate. In addition, he has represented his school at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. At the crossroads of his interests lie: history, geopolitical analysis and law. 

As a person, Leo Selim has set his career path as a law student at the London School of Economics and an expert in international arbitration and dispute settlement. However, as a Youth of today, he believes it is his responsibility to be loud about his opinions and shed light on the ongoing crisis in today’s global order.

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