Former NATO general expects Ukraine ceasefire in 2023

Former NATO general expects Ukraine ceasefire in 2023

Hans-Lothar Domröse names Guterres, Erdogan and Modi as possible mediators. But a ceasefire does not mean peace.

Former Bundeswehr and NATO general Hans-Lothar Domröse expects a ceasefire in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine later this year. “I expect a stoppage at the beginning of the summer, when both sides will say: it’s no use now,” the German told newspapers of the Essen-based media group Funke. “We will have a truce sometime in 2023.”

The most likely moment between February and May is a situation “where both sides realize they are not getting anywhere”, says the former general. “That would be the time for ceasefire talks.” But that doesn’t mean peace for long. “A ceasefire means: we stop shooting. Negotiations are likely to take a long time, you need a mediator: perhaps UN Secretary General Guterres, Turkish President Erdogan or Indian President Modi – although no one is really imposing.”

Domröse said there was only one negotiated solution that was acceptable to both sides – “even though Putin would really like to have all of Ukraine and Zelenskiy would like to free all of Ukraine again”. As a possible solution, the former general called “Zelensky’s waiver of the demand for areas like Crimea to be immediately reintegrated into Ukraine – a transition could be agreed”.

Acting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also believes the war is likely to end at the negotiating table. However, Ukraine’s strength on the battlefield is decisive for the outcome of these negotiations, the NATO secretary general told British radio station BBC 4. It is up to Kyiv to decide under what conditions it will sit at the negotiating table.

In view of the protracted war in Ukraine, Stoltenberg also called for an increase in weapons production in the Western military alliance. “We need a huge amount of ammunition. We need spare parts,” said the Norwegian.

“I hope there are no more fights”

Russia and security expert András Rácz of the German Council on Foreign Relations told Funke newspapers that talks between Ukraine and Russia could take place in the summer. “I am sure that by the end of the year we will have some kind of truce: I hope there will be no more fights, but certainly a lot less fights.”

Russia is unlikely to want to fight an intensive war before or during the upcoming presidential elections in 2024. He expects Russia will therefore want to reduce the intensity of fighting throughout the year. “Also because supply problems for the Russian army are likely to increase in the summer.”

CDU European politician David McAllister stressed that the Kremlin cannot and must not impose a dictated peace on Ukraine. “Only the Ukrainian government decides if and when the conditions for ceasefire talks are in place,” the chairman of the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee told Funke newspapers.