They work in secret. And this is how it should be, otherwise no dialogue would be possible in any case.
These are the subtle comments NRK received when we tried to find out if Norway was trying to carry on its proud tradition as a peace broker, this time between Russia and Ukraine.
Peace in Ukraine is a very different thing to facilitate than leading negotiations between the government and the FARC fighters in Colombia, or between the minority Tamils and the authorities in Sri Lanka.
Not to mention between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Pure terror against civilians”
On Wednesday evening, as large parts of Ukraine were blacked out after Russian attacks on the electricity supply, Volodymyr Zelensky called for An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
There he described the Russian bombing as “pure terrorism against civilians”, and received statements of support from a number of countries including Norway.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, more than 8,300 civilians have been killed since the Russian invasion on 24 February. Among them will be more than 430 children.
The civilian population is now entering a harsh winter, which can be very cold and dark. At stake, he said, was the survival of Ukrainians One of Zelenskyj’s advisers to NRK recently.
Store and Lavrov
As a NATO country and a neighbor of Russia, Norway is deeply involved in the war sparked by Russian aggression against Ukraine.
On November 21, the Norwegian authorities said they would contribute gas to Ukraine for NOK 2 billion. This kind of help could be just as important as the weapons, also provided by Norway, now that winter is upon us and Russia is trying to cut off Ukraine’s electricity supply.
At the same time, the Norwegian authorities are trying to keep the channels open to our neighboring large country to the east.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Steur had a close and reliable relationship with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Confirmed all the time Lavrov’s lightning visit to Store During a stopover in Oslo at the end of October last year.
This close personal contact helped solve the problem Chaos around the Russian trawler Electron in 2005.
The incident could lead to a direct confrontation between Norway and Russia in the important fishing grounds in the Barents Sea.
Do not aim to change the government
Now Sergey Lavrov travels to countries that want him to visit, to defend why Russia invaded Ukraine. Just before the invasion, Lavrov said that Russia would not attack the neighboring country.
According to the British newspaper times The man who has been foreign minister since 2004 was not notified of the attack until all decisions had been made and troops moved.
– Our goal is not for the special operation to change the government in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said November 22.
This is something completely different from what Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his book Speech on the night of February 24th. It is an argument previously also made by the president’s closest adviser, Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.
– We must disarm, disarm Ukraine, said Putin in February.
At the same time, he asked the soldiers and the army of the independent country to lay down their arms. So sheer surrender.
The military offensive aims to quickly capture the capital, Kyiv, and the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. Then pro-Moscow politicians will take over, instead of the legally elected Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and his government.
It didn’t work out that way. And already at the end of March, we heard new tunes from some in the circle around President Putin.
Should Zelensky moderate?
Russia effectively controls between 15 and 20 percent of Ukraine’s territory.
But the Russian army suffered huge losses.
At the beginning of November, they had to give up Kherson, the only regional capital they controlled, if we ignore Simferopol in Crimea, which was already annexed in 2014.
So Russia now speaks of Zelensky as a leader to whom they belong at the same time Zelensky himself said It will be impossible to negotiate with Russia as long as Putin leads the country.
But Zelensky may also need to tone down his use of words now. Ukraine is completely dependent on the political, and not least the military, support it receives from the United States.
President Joe Biden’s security policy advisor, Jake Sullivan, will during his visit to Kyiv at the beginning of November He asked Zelensky to tone down his use of words So as not to ruin the prospects for starting a dialogue.
confirmed at the same time The most important task for the United States is to secure Ukraine the best possible starting point on the battlefield, ahead of possible negotiations.
Intelligence chiefs met
And in mid-November, there was a meeting between the head of the US intelligence service, William Burns, and the head of the Russian foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Burns went straight from this meeting to Kyiv.
Burns, who was ambassador to Moscow and speaks Russian, could play a key role if the parties to the conflict think it is time to sit down and talk.
From the Russian side, it is probably a prerequisite for the United States to have a central role in such talks.
What can Norway contribute?
Just a few weeks before the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, to representatives from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, Norway, the peace broker, is also trying to position itself.
None of those contacted by NRK will say anything about the channels that have been created.
Perhaps Norway should team up with another neighboring country that borders Russia.
Finland, not least President Sauli Niinisto, has a good direct relationship with President Vladimir Putin.
But Putin’s lies that he will not attack Ukraine have destroyed that confidence, even though Finland may be one of the countries that still has some kind of dialogue going on with Moscow.
Drop the peace proposal
Ukrainian newspaper online Ukrainian Pravda He writes that before the G20 meeting in Bali, in which Sergey Lavrov took part, there was a ten-point proposal. The Norwegian authorities should also be aware of this proposal.
In short, it meant that Russia had to return the occupied parts of Ukraine in the south and east, including all of Donbass. In contrast, the Crimean issue has been postponed for seven years, along with the issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO..
As a first step and as a show of goodwill, Russia should stop missile attacks against Ukraine.
The answer from Russia was the opposite. On Tuesday, November 15, nearly 100 missiles rained down on Ukraine. The aim was to hit civilian infrastructure such as the water and electricity supplies.
Fears froze the conflict
And this is where the “peace process” now stands.
The Norwegian authorities keep the negotiating device ready. The United States and Russia have opened some channels in the open.
Ukraine is still seeking a better position on the battlefield and fears being pressured into an interim solution that could quickly freeze the conflict.
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