“Russia must lose” – POLITICO

‘Russia must lose’ in its war against Ukraine, and EU leaders should not make the mistake of seeking ‘peace at all costs’, Latvian PM Krišjānis Kariņš says in interview at POLITICO on Monday ahead of the European Council summit.

Kariņš warned that even as EU heads of state and government debate the details of a proposed Russian oil embargo, they should focus first and foremost on the overarching goal of defeating Russian President Vladimir Putin – which Kariņš believed was the only way to ensure that Russia could be deterred from future military aggression.

“It is Europe’s challenge and indeed the world’s challenge to persevere and keep an eye on the ball,” Kariņš said. “Our main objective must be for Russia to lose – and the other side of the coin is for Ukraine to win the war. Anything less than that means we have a very bad security situation in Europe. »

He continued, “The only way to achieve lasting peace and security is for Russia to lose, because anything that Russia doesn’t perceive as a loss means it’s just a stage. So maybe the conflict is slowing down now… it’s frozen, like many conflicts had been in the past… and then Russia would understand, “hey, it worked, the land grab worked, nothing happened. ‘is really over’, continue to rebuild your army and move forward, whether in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan or elsewhere. This is what will lead to long-term instability.

Kariņš said that ultimately EU leaders would have to agree to sanction Russia’s entire energy sector, but he hoped the European Council would reach at least a provisional agreement on oil at this summit. week. He also asked that any exception on oil shipped by pipeline be granted only for the southern Druzhba pipe that connects to Hungary, which faces a risk of “security of supply”, and that this exemption be also granted. of a limited duration.

In the interview, Kariņš said that some of his fellow European Council leaders were mistakenly in favor of pursuing peace at all costs. Indeed, some EU countries had pushed for language in the summit conclusions calling for a ceasefire – a controversial step as it suggested Ukraine may have to cede territory to stop the fighting. No such wording should be endorsed.

“The problem is that some of my colleagues have a false belief…peace at all costs,” Kariņš said. “And peace at all costs, that’s what we did for 20 years with Putin. And peace at any cost means Putin wins. We end up losing. Now, in the interest of Germany, France, Italy and everyone else, if we really want security in Europe, Russia must lose, it must finally realize that it cannot work in this way. And collectively, we have the ability to make that happen.

Kariņš also opposed recent proposals by French President Emmanuel Macron and others who have called for some sort of new European “community” that would strengthen EU ties with Ukraine and other countries hoping for a day join the block. Kariņš said such a tiered approach to membership was just a disguise to delay or even reject membership offers.

“I haven’t had a discussion with Emmanuel about this yet,” Kariņš said. “But on the face of it, on first reading, I don’t think that’s the way to go. We already have the Eastern Partnership. We have all kinds of ways of working with countries. But we really have to say then if we don’t want a country in the European Union. We should say that. Or if we do, then we should work with them to bring them into the Union. And the architecture Macron is proposing seems to never answer that question, and we don’t think that’s the right way to go.

Kariņš said that for leaders who now fear soaring inflation, especially energy and food prices, the most crucial solution was to push for Russia’s defeat in the war.

“The longer the conflict lasts, the stronger the pressure will be on various politicians, from segments of society, to do things differently,” Kariņš said in the interview. “Prices are rising across Europe. They are increasing because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. But there will be many people in society across Europe who will forget this and ask the government to do something about it. And so governments will be pushed to take the path of “peace at all costs”. The danger is that if we go down this path, we are guaranteeing enormous hardship in the future for all of us.

He added: “I am strongly on the side of peace, in the sense that the only way to get peace is for Russia to lose the war. That’s how you get to peace.

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