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"Compromise is not possible at certain points": interview of Tetiana Kyselyova for the Frankfurter Rundschau

‘The first item on the agenda for us, mediators and dialogue facilitators who usually work with non-violent conflict resolution, is to provide Ukraine with weapons, whatever paradoxically it may sound.’ 

In certain issues compromise is impossible. This applies, in particular, to the territorial integrity of the state. If the whole world has recognised that the occupation of the territory of another state is aggression, then the only option for the aggressor is to return these territories. If it is decided otherwise, international law and the international consensus on this issue would be violated. This would encourage other regimes to seize territories from neighbouring countries by force,’ says Tetiana Kyselova, mediation expert and founder of the Mediation and Dialogue Research Center at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, in an interview for the Frankfurter Rundschau. 

Below are some of the highlights of the interview and a link to the full text in German:

- There are clear principles of mediation in armed conflicts, which are set out, for example, in the UN guidelines. So we know what the classic approach to mediation looks like, but in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, it does not work because it is a very unusual situation. 

- If you look at more than 100 armed conflicts in the world, there is only one interstate hot conflict between an authoritarian and a democratic state. It is also recognised at the UN level that there is an aggressor state and a defending state. However, most principles of conflict resolution have been developed on the basis of civil war experience, where there are actors with legitimate claims against each other, and their interests need to be reconciled and compromises found. In the case of Ukraine, however, this is not working.

- This should be clear to the West: our efforts to find diplomatic solutions do not mean that military support is no longer needed. Military deterrence must be maintained in any case, even if negotiations take place. President Zelenskyy initiated the Peace Formula process while the war is still ongoing, which is also very unusual. More than 80 states are involved in this peace process. Peace can only be achieved after geopolitical tensions are resolved. This is a very complex situation that is difficult to resolve - and military resistance is necessary at this time.

- Tensions within Ukraine have increased significantly over the past two years. Since 2022, Ukrainian mediators and dialogue facilitators have united in the Ukrainian Community of Dialogue Practitioners to strengthen  social cohesion, including through the integration of psychological assistance, for example, in mixed teams of psychologists and mediators working in IDP centres.


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