On April 27 the Canadian Pugwash Group (CPG) hosted an expert speaker event entitled “Peace Table for Ukraine and Russia”. The event was motivated by the CPG’s deep concerns about the continuing deaths and destruction occurring as a result of the Ukraine crisis and, most critically, by the heightened risk of the use of nuclear weapons. The event therefore sought to identify recommendations on how to achieve a ceasefire and peace negotiations.
The resulting discussion suggested that while both sides are “hurting”, both remain hopeful of improved circumstances, indeed a “victory”, before concluding the violence. The parties in conflict fear a ceasefire might lock in existing conditions on the ground for future borders. The UN and states friendly to each side have failed to pressure the parties toward peace negotiations. These and other obstacles are set out in the meeting report. Creative proposals for mitigating these obstacles and easing these states toward a ceasefire are also offered for consideration.
Ernie Regehr (a CPG member and author of “Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield” moderated the discussion. Dr. Sylvie Lemieux (CPG member and co-chair of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) facilitated the panel.
The four speakers were:
1. Wolfgang Sporrer, Adjunct Professor- Conflict Management, The Hertie School, Berlin/German (OSCE, Minsk Accords)
2. Sergio Duarte, former UN High Representative for Disarmament
3. Sergey Batsanov, Russian diplomatic service from 1975 to 1993, former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, currently Director of the Geneva Office of Pugwash Conferences
4. Maria Levchenko, Peacebuilding Officer with Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR).
The speakers began by addressing two questions:
1. What are the two or three obstacles to stopping the war and getting to a ceasefire?
2. Which obstacles, if mitigated, would best pave the way to a ceasefire?
The second half of the event involved audience questions posed to one or more of the speakers.
You can watch the recording of the event here:
A report of the meeting and outcomes paper are available here: