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Why Ukraine should not accept a peace like that of Bosnia

Over the past few months, Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive and regained large swaths of its territory from Russia, proving many of its critics wrong.

However, Kyiv’s Western allies have not been sufficiently persuaded to increase support despite Ukrainian military successes and a Russian retreat. Instead, some pressure has been put on the Ukrainian government to get involved with the Kremlin.

Particularly, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley has advocated diplomacy, arguing that Ukraine cannot free its remaining territories.

While Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, has felt compelled to indicate an openness to negotiations, other members of President Joe Biden’s administration have not publicly supported his calls for talks.

As a Bosnian witness to this, I can hear the alarms going off. I think that Ukraine might end up like Bosnia, a state that broke down because of a terrible peace deal.

Naturally, there is no complete parallel that can be drawn between Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The United Nations imposed an arms embargo on my nation when it was attacked in 1992, limiting its capacity to defend itself. It could not stop genocide and lost a lot of territory to the enemy.

The United Nations and the European Community, which before it became the European Union, sent diplomats who used peace language to pursue a policy of partition.
In a rare moment of candour, British mediator David Owen told the Bosnians, who were hoping for a Western military intervention, “Don’t dream dreams.”

Ukraine, on the other hand, has received both diplomatic and military assistance ever since Russia’s massive invasion.

In particular, Kyiv has been able to launch a successful counteroffensive and thwart Russian plans for a complete occupation of the country thanks to the supply of weapons.

However, the Ukrainians are, for some inexplicable reason, being instructed to lay down their arms at a time when they have an advantage on the battlefield, just as the Bosnian government forces were on the offensive in the summer and fall of 1995 before they were halted by Western pressure for peace negotiations.

For Bosnia’s situation, what this troublesome push for exchanges did was set Sarajevo in a more fragile position.

It gave Serbia and Serb rebel forces much more leverage than they should have had in negotiations and prevented its forces from liberating additional territory.

Ukraine may find itself in the same predicament as Russia, which retains control of the majority of the Donbas and a portion of Kherson and Zaporizhia.

Zelenskyy would be forced to make the difficult decision that US diplomat and chief negotiator Richard Holbrooke gave Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic at the 1995 Dayton peace talks.

“Do you want us to negotiate a single Bosnian state, which would necessarily have a relatively weak central government, or would you prefer to let Bosnia be divided, leaving you in firm control of a much smaller country? “Holbrooke inquired about Izetbegovic.

The president of Bosnia decided to preserve the country’s territorial integrity. However, the establishment of a highly autonomous political entity known as Republika Srpska, which was granted veto power in the Bosnian government, was a crucial concession for the Serb rebels’ reintegration.

As a result, forces opposed to Bosnia’s unity were given the ability to thwart any action taken by Bosnian state institutions on the executive or legislative levels.

These forces have the ability to obstruct anything at any time, from the meeting of the Bosnian parliament to the approval of legislation and the holding of elections.

Because of these veto powers, secessionists, who are increasingly igniting conflict, have the ability to undermine the country’s stability and functioning.

Zelenskyy would be presented with a similar choice if he agreed to peace talks now: accepting the formation of independent regions that are loyal to the Kremlin rather than giving up territory in Ukraine to Russia.

The Ukrainian president has vowed to free involved domains, including Crimea. He would lose his domestic standing and his forces’ morale if he makes concessions regarding the integrity of the Ukrainian territory.

Additionally, it would make all of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory, not just the areas Russia currently occupies, subject to negotiation.
As a result, there would never be a guarantee that the nation would not be invaded or subject to territorial claims in the future.

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Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.