Putin Waits For Trump To Negotiate Ukraine Without EU – OpEd


By Aneta Zachová and Charles Szumski 

(EurActiv) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is waiting for the 2024 US elections, hoping to negotiate on the future of the Russia-Ukraine war with Donald Trump without the involvement of any European state, Czech President Petr Pavel has said. 

Meanwhile, Finland, whose NATO membership has been strongly criticised by Moscow, has granted the US military unrestricted access to military facilities close to the Finnish-Russian border. 

“President Putin has made it quite clear that there can be no discussion of any peace talks until the outcome of the election in the United States. He has thus made it clear that for him, the partner for possible negotiations is none other than the United States. Nor any of the major European countries,” Pavel told news site Seznam Zprávy in an interview.

Pavel warned that if Donald Trump were to win the US presidential elections, Putin could try to negotiate with him “regardless of what Ukraine or the rest of Europe thinks”.

According to the Czech president, such negotiations between Putin and Trump could lead to “some sort of compromise that will notionally return Russia to the status of a key player, and the others will have to somehow come to terms with that.” 

Pavel, who served as the NATO military committee head before becoming Czech president in January 2023, strongly supports Ukraine but appears quite sceptical about how Russia’s current war in the country will develop, saying the world will soon have to deal with “a new situation”,

“We have a lot ahead of us because the development of the conflict in Ukraine shows that we are very likely to see some significant developments next year. And the indications so far are that it will not be in the best sense of the word as we would like it to be,” the Czech president said.

Pavel’s remarks echo a statement made earlier this month by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who expected “bad news” from the Ukrainian front.   

Donald Trump has claimed that if re-elected, he would resolve the war in Ukraine within 24 hours. 

For their part, analysts in Brussels estimate that a Trump victory will highly likely weaken Ukraine’s position and should be perceived as a wake-up call for Europe to strengthen its strategic autonomy in defence. 

On a political level, except for far-right parties, mainstream European political forces do not have an open communication channel with Trump. 

Traditionally, US Democrats have been aligned with the EU’s liberals and centre-left and US Republicans with the EU centre-right (EPP).

However, with Trump at the helm, the US Republicans no longer have their traditional friends from the European People’s Party on board. Under the current EPP leadership, all relations with the Republicans have been frozen.

This isolation includes the International Democracy Union (IDU), which promotes conservative policies across the globe and supports Trump, a high-ranking EPP source recently told Euractiv.

Finland allows US soldiers to move closer to Russian border

In the meantime, on a military level, Finland and the US signed a defence agreement on Monday, allowing the US military to have unrestricted access to military facilities close to the Finnish-Russian border.

The Russian government has repeatedly criticised Finland’s NATO membership, warning that it risks further escalating the conflict. 

Although Putin stressed that it’s not in Moscow’s geopolitical interest to have a conflict with NATO, he said in an interview with Russian state television that Finland’s NATO membership creates problems.

“The West has taken Finland and dragged it into NATO. Why? All the problems we had with Finland were solved a long time ago. There were no problems, but now there will be,” Putin said Sunday. 

The agreement lists 15 facilities and areas to which the US Army will have unrestricted access and which it can use to store military equipment and ammunition, including four air bases, a military port, and railway access to northern Finland, where the US military can use an area for storage.

“The agreement will make cooperation and operations easier and faster to organise in peacetime. This will also be vital in times of crisis”, said Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen when the agreement was announced last week.

Some of the sites to which the US will have access are a few hours’ drive from the border with Russia, which is currently closed because of Russia allegedly sending asylum seekers over the border in what the Finnish authorities have dubbed “Russian hybrid attacks”.

Finland is not alone in signing such an agreement with the US, as Sweden signed a similar deal on 6 December. The agreement with Stockholm gives US forces access to 17 sites and facilities, including four air bases, a port and five military camps.

Unlike Finland, however, Sweden is still waiting to have the green light from all NATO member states to become a member.

The US has also struck similar agreements with Norway, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia, and the Danish government is also in the process of negotiating a similar cooperation with the US.

The US presence in Finland could be made permanent, but there are currently no plans to do so, according to the Finnish government.

However, the agreement states that Finland will not allow nuclear weapons, biological weapons or anti-personnel mines to be stored or transported on Finnish territory


EurActiv publishes free, independent policy news and facilitates open policy debates in 12 languages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *