Oleksiy Arestovych suggests ‘Federal Republic of Germany’ option as one of a number of possible conflict end games.
By Our Foreign Staff 17 July 2023
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.