Swap Ukraine territory for Nato membership, says former presidential adviser

Oleksiy Arestovych suggests ‘Federal Republic of Germany’ option as one of a number of possible conflict end games.

17 July 2023

Oleksiy Arestovych served as an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff until January
Oleksiy Arestovych served as an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff until January CREDIT: Alfredas Pliadis/Alamy

Trading 20 per cent of Ukrainian territory for Nato membership for the rest of the country could be one way to end the war, a former Ukrainian presidential adviser has suggested.

The controversial remarks by Oleksiy Arestovych, which go directly against Ukrainian government policy, are unlikely to prove popular with the public.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president, and other leading Ukrainian officials have ruled out trading territory for peace or Nato membership.

But Mr Arestovych, who served as an adviser to Mr Zelensky’s chief of staff until January, suggested a “Federal Republic of Germany” option as one of a number of possible end games.

Speaking in a YouTube interview with Yulia Latynina, a Russian journalist, Mr Arestovych said the debate over Nato membership exposed deep contradictions between Ukraine’s objectives and those of its main Western allies, suggesting four ways to bridge it.

He said the first would be for Ukraine to persuade its Western allies to come around to its point of view. He suggested Ukraine lacked the “political resources” to achieve that.

The second would be a “Federal Republic of Germany” option in which the free part of an effectively partitioned Ukraine was allowed into Nato in the hope that reunification would eventually be achieved by peaceful means.

“Let’s say part of occupied territory remains occupied, outside the control of the Ukrainian government. We hang onto the rest. Exactly how much we don’t know, but the vast majority,” he said.

“Let’s say 80 per cent of the territory we hold on to. In fact most of us, the larger part of the state, as they promised, ends the war and enters Nato. Many could call that a super-historic opportunity.

“The third option is that we find a compromise. But I think most likely is option four – that is ‘march of justice two’,” he said, referring to Yevgenny Prigozhin’s Wagner mutinyon June 24.

He said option three would not involve renouncing the ambition of liberating Crimea and occupied territories, but trying to do so by peaceful means.

The Ukrainian government has consistently said its war aims include the liberation of all occupied territory including Crimea.

Mr Arestovych, a former psychologist and a prolific blogger, is a well-known but controversial figure in Ukraine.

In the early weeks of the war, he issued widely viewed updates on the progress of the conflict, at one point predicting that a peace deal was close and that fighting would only last a few weeks or months.

He resigned as an adviser to the presidential office in January after saying a Russian missile that destroyed an apartment block in Dnipro had been shot down by Ukrainian air defence.

He currently holds no official government post, and Mr Zelensky’s office has said he was only ever a freelance “adviser” to Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff, and not a member of staff.

The comments drew a backlash from Ukrainians who accused him of spreading unverified information and supporting Russian propaganda narratives.

It is not the first time the division of Germany after the Second World War has been used as a counterpoint to the argument that Ukraine cannot join Nato while it has an active territorial dispute with Russia.

The Federal Republic of Germany was established by the merger of the American, British, and French zones of occupation in 1949. 

It joined Nato in 1955, while the German Democratic Republic, founded in the former Soviet zone of occupation, remained under Moscow’s control. The two reunified in 1991.


  1. Selected comments from DT readers:

    Aj Arn:
    “Arestovych has quite clearly analysed what happened politically in allowing Scholz & MicroN to hijack the NATO Council with an effectively illegal preemptive European Council —- with zero Competence under the TEU — in order to block progress on Ukraine’s NATO Membership Application, with Biden’s presumed collusion, very much more speedily and strategically than the UK Media.
    Who have yet to even notice the EU takeover of NATO which Biden and Amanda Sloat appear to have endorsed: throwing Ukraine’s Leader under a bus, in doing so.”

    Richard Cooper:
    “Arestovych’s suggestion woud let Putin off the hook, and able to claim victory while maintaining his propaganda that NATO wants to invade Russia.
    “Presidential adviser” or not, the man is as daft as Biden.”

    R Ellis
    “It’s not just land it’s is the value of the mineral wealth required to rebuild Ukraine, finance it’s development and to to defend itself in the future.

    Reply by DTUses ShadowBanning 
Reply to R Ellis 
“Russia’s 29-9-22 View: Occupied Ukrainian Territories Will Give Trillions Profit.”
https://english.pravda DOT

    Ivan Kuzyk
    “Arestovych has become an insignificant character since he was relieved of his duties. Proposals like this, which do nothing for Ukraine, are part of a sad, personal strategy to make him seem provocative and relevant again. Nothing different can be expected from someone who seems like he would push over babies in their prams to get a little media attention..”

    Star comment from William Webb:
    “Crimea will be returned to Ukraine, and a buffer zone set up and manned by UN troops in the East. You heard it first here.”

    Wazi Wright:
    “Sadly for Putin, his plan to take control of Ukraine in a few weeks was the only way he could have done it. Once he didn’t Russia had lost.
    Now the west has invested too much in a Ukrainian victory for it to allow anything but a Ukrainian victory.
    The west will support Ukraine for as long as it takes and will give them whatever it takes to win.
    Supporting Ukraine costs the west very little in relative terms, the burden is spread very widely across wealthy nations. There is no fatigue, the west can support Ukraine indefinitely.”

    Bertie Barking:
    “In other words surrender.
    Ultimately it means the scum have got away with murder, rape, torture, kidnapping children and multiple other war crimes.
    It solves nothing when you give in to tyrants.”

    John Georgeson:
    “Any Ukrainian territory held by Moscow, following such a deal, would be swiftly Russified. True Ukrainians would be swiftly cleansed from those lands, the culture and language would be eradicated.
    Therefore, it would not be feasible for two Ukrainian republics to reconcile as a single state as one would be effectively Russian on every conceivable level.
    This proposal, if implemented, would further embolden Putin to embark on further expansionist adventures.”

    Ci Dillon
    Reply to John Georgeson:
    “Standard for Russia. Murder, rape, and deport the local population, steal anything of value, then replace with Russians so in a few years you can claim the whole area was always Russian.
    It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so awful, especially the sexual violence perpetrated by Russian forces on women and children in occupied areas. Absolutely horrific.
    Only “good” solution is the complete rescuing of occupied areas and a thorough separation with Russia.”

  2. Can you believe a Ukrainian said this?
    All the “land for peace” fuckwits will be jumping on this.

    • Reaching for a barf bag. What he suggests is no longer possible and perhaps never was. Putler and his rashist horde are hell bent on the genocide of Ukraine. You can’t compromise with that.

    • How’s that swing go…better to shut up and let people think you’re an idiot then opening your mouth and removing all doubt.

  3. Arestovitch, swap your nationality for ORC membership definitively!

    It sound more logical

  4. I don’t know how severe ukrainian casualties truly are, so i will not insult him. If Ukraine has no chance of liberating all occupied territories (mostly due to the lack of Nato support) i can imagine quite alot to save the most valuable good – ukrainian lives.

  5. No wonder he got fired.
    Such a move would be viable only out of desperation. Currently, Ukraine is far away from that.

  6. I’m sure those affected Ukrainians would be delighted to lose their homes, land and all future access to the burial places of their loved ones.

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