Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said that Russian interests and its role as a European power must be respected after the war in Ukraine ends, The National News reports. Kissinger offered comments on ending the Russian invasion of Ukraine at a book launch event for his latest work, Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy.
“There will be a Russian point of view, which will have to be considered when the war in Ukraine has ended,” he said.
Kissinger, a veteran Republican statesman, has travelled widely and is a respected voice on statecraft and international affairs. He has become an informal advisor to many world leaders.
At the book launch, he said the approach to the war in Ukraine required a sound strategy that focused on “political objectives as well as the military situation.”
“One cannot simply continue fighting without an objective to which the various countries can relate,” he explained.
“The Ukraine issue was composed when it started [in February] of two pieces: one, there was a part of Ukraine that Russia had annexed 10 years ago and the rest of Europe and America had acquiesced in that,” he said. “The second issue is Ukraine as it existed on the day the Russian aggression and invasion started. I believe that if the defence of Ukraine reaches those borders—in other words, if it drives Russia off any conquest, then a negotiation could start about the future relationship.”
Kissinger also evoked strong criticism from Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky in May when he suggested that Ukraine cede territory to Russia to end the war. Having been singled out by Zelensky as a voice urging Kyiv to cede to Russian demands, Mr. Kissinger, who was U.S. secretary of state between 1973-1977, said he did not have any singular views for how the Ukrainians could end the war and clarified his position.
He cited comments by Zelensky in which he appeared to take into account Russian enclaves that had been carved out in the confrontation in 2014, adding that the Ukrainian president had referred to a “great victory” if it pushed Russian forces back to the February frozen conflict lines.
“It was not that Ukraine should give up territory to Russia in order to achieve peace,” Mr. Kissinger clarified. “We are not at that point yet because about 20 percent of Ukrainian territory is now occupied by Russia and that has to be returned before one can speak of a settlement.”
“[Mr Zelensky] said if we reach the borders, it will be a great victory. And after that, we will still argue for the return of the remaining 7 percent of the territory,” Kissinger added.
The conflict in Ukraine is heading into its fourth month with fighting concentrated in the east.