Two of Norway’s most experienced diplomats, Leidulv Namtvedt and Øyvind Nordsletten, do not think Russia will go to war against Ukraine.
“I do not envisage an all-out war or occupation of Ukraine by Russia. The costs would be too great, both in the form of sanctions and body bags,” Leidulv Namtvedt told the newspaper Vårt Land.
He was Norway’s ambassador to Moscow from 2013 to 2018 but is now retired.
Øyvind Nordsletten, who was ambassador to Ukraine from 1992 to 1996, and to Moscow from 2000 to 2008, shares Namtvedt’s position.
“I do not think it is likely to have a broad Russian attack on Ukraine,” he said.
Namtvedt was ambassador to Russia when the country annexed the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine in 2014.
“Usually, fallen soldiers get big ceremonies, but the Russian soldiers who died in Crimea were buried in silence. Fallen soldiers are not popular in Russia now,” he said.
Russia fears that Ukraine will join NATO, which is also why the annexation of the Crimean peninsula took place, Namtvedt believes.
“NATO does not take on new members who are in conflict. That helps explain what Russia did in 2014,” he said.
Nordsletten does not think that Ukraine will join NATO immediately.
“There is no indication that Ukraine has a clear perspective to become a member of the alliance. But this concerns an important principle: the states’ right to define for themselves how they want to secure their territory and their sovereignty,” he said.
At the same time, Nordsletten emphasizes the importance of understanding how Russia thinks.
“Not so that we accept the other’s view, but to prevent demonization and to make us more able to see ways out and find solutions.”
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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