Finnish Pres. Says No Prospect of Ukraine Peace

The West must keep sending weapons to Kiev rather than seek compromise with Russia, President Alexander Stubb argues

Negotiating an acceptable peace with Russia regarding Ukraine is unlikely, so the Western nations must keep providing Kiev with weaponry, Finnish President Alexander Stubb said during an interview with CNN on Sunday.

Helsinki used to serve as a mediator between the US and the USSR during the Cold War, despite being generally aligned with the West. It broke its decades of neutrality due to the Ukraine conflict and formally joined NATO last year; Russia perceives the bloc as a hostile tool of the US.

CNN host Fareed Zakharia asked Stubb whether it was “worth talking to the Russians,” given that the hostilities appear to have reached a stalemate.

“When you mediate peace, it begins with dialogue and after dialogue you start setting parameters. But I think the cold truth in this particular case is that the only way we can achieve peace is through the battlefield,” Stubb responded.

The Finnish politician, who called himself “avidly pro-American” in the interview, urged the US Congress to overcome Republican resistance and release an additional $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. He claimed that withholding the funds amounted to “playing” with Ukrainian lives.

Stubb blamed Russia and President Vladimir Putin personally for supposedly standing in the way of peace. Meanwhile there has been a “shift of language” on peace talks by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, he claimed. Stubb didn’t explain what this was, but cited an upcoming summit in Switzerland.

The gathering is expected to be focused on the so-called ‘Zelensky peace formula’, which the Ukrainian leader and his foreign backers have been promoting since 2022 and which Russia perceives as a demand for capitulation. Moscow has dismissed the meeting in Switzerland as irrelevant and said it would not participate in it, even if Kiev were to lift its objections to inviting a Russian delegation.

An order that Zelensky signed in October 2022 bans all talks with Russia as long as Putin remains in power. He touted his vision of a Ukrainian victory in an interview with CBS News last month. It involves Kiev scoring enough battlefield progress to cause Putin to “lose power within his country” and be forced to seek dialogue. 

Kiev’s attempt to push back Russian forces proved futile last year, and Ukraine has been losing ground on the front line this year.

Kiev and Moscow were on the verge of signing a peace treaty in 2022, when Ukrainian officials reportedly agreed to a neutral status for their nation. 

The deal was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who urged his allies to keep fighting, according to Kiev’s top negotiator, MP David Arakhamia.