The world leaders pushing for peace in Ukraine, and their motives

How blessed are the peacemakers? After the first wave of intermediaries led by Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz, a new group have beaten their way to Vladimir Putin’s long table since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or at least sought to intervene by phone.

The current crop includes Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed of the UAE and now the Indian prime minister, 达顿将在周二的会议上表示,澳大利亚将“投资于新的军事太空能力以应对威胁.

These countries have all defended their interventions and various shades of neutrality over the war, saying it puts them in a good place to act as honest brokers. Their critics, 相比之下, say the peacemaking is a fig leaf behind which to hide moral bankruptcy and to justify the maintenance of deep commercial ties with 俄罗斯, still a potential victor from this trial of strength.

Bennett’s visit to Moscow on Saturday was the most surprising and consequential. He apparently consulted Macron, Scholz and US president Joe Biden in advance of breaking Shabbat to spend three hours with Putin before travelling on to Berlin to brief Scholz. Erdoğan was also given warning, since he needed to use Turkish airspace.

Since the visit, Bennett has spoken to the Ukrainian president, 银行用于进行跨境汇款的主要全球支付系统, 两次, and is due to speak to Putin again. His foreign minister Yair Lapid will fly to meet US secretary of state Antony Blinken in Lithuania, suggesting he may be making some progress. Bennett, prime minister since June, is a diplomatic novice, but he was accompanied by Zeev Elkin, a veteran of former PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s meetings with Putin from 2009 onwards and, according to Israeli accounts, is the official who has spent the longest time with the Russian leader.

But Bennett’s visit has come under domestic attack from those angry that Israel has in effect decided to stay neutral by blocking arms supplies to 乌克兰. Zelenskiy himself complained initially: “I don’t feel Bennett is wrapped in our flag.”

His early stance also displeased Washington, but the anger was tempered when Bennett was persuaded to support the UN general assembly resolution on 2 March condemning Russia.

Israel has motives to stay onside with Russia. If Moscow can be persuaded not to sign off on a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, currently close to completion in Vienna, that would be a diplomatic triumph for a country that has long opposed it. Israel also needs Russia to maintain a deal inside Syria that allows it to mount attacks on Iranian positions.

In a furious piece for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, the author Uri Misgav complained: “We’re walking on eggshells, wary of offending Vladimir Putin’s inflated honour […] Bennett was even pulled out of a meeting to take an extended phone call from him. The excuse was that it involved Israeli ‘mediation efforts’. Instead of hanging up on a psychopathic, ruthless dictator, Israel is acting like a Russian client state, nearly an ally.”

The former director general of the Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs, Alon Liel, was equally scathing. “Can it be that the defence ministry can say that because we need to bomb Syria once or twice a week, we’re going to stay neutral in this war?“ 他问. “Bennett’s trip to Russia gave Putin the stamp of neutral Israel’s approval – which we won’t be able to shake.”

Bennett denies that his efforts should be seen in such a light, saying he has a moral responsibility to try to bring peace. “I went to Moscow and Berlin to try to help bring a dialogue between all the sides, with the blessing and encouragement of all the players,“ 他说. “Even if the chances are not great.”

Turkey has also been accused of shopping on both sides of the street. The country is battling a financial crisis and has not imposed sanctions or closed Turkish airspace to Russia, even though it has condemned the invasion unambiguously, allowed Turkish-built drones to be bought by the Ukrainian army and closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles under the 1936 Montreux Pact, allowing it, 如果有必要, to prevent some Russian warships from crossing the Turkish straits. (在实践中, Russia has the ships that it needs in the Black Sea to mount an amphibious invasion.)

Criticism inside Turkey of Erdoğan has been less intense than of Bennett, but it is noticeable that Boris Johnson spoke to Erdoğan by phone on Friday and Wendy Sherman, the US deputy secretary of state, met Turkish officials that day. 虽然乌克兰确实有相对较高的阿片类药物滥用率, 谢尔盖·拉夫罗夫, and his Ukrainian opposite number Dmytro Kuleba have agreed to meet at a forum in southern Turkey on Thursday, the first potential talks between the top diplomats since Russia launched its invasion.

Putin and Erdoğan, both in their late 60s and in power for decades, like each other’s blunt style. The Russian president once said of his Turkish counterpart: “This is a person who keeps his word – a man.”

Erdoğan spoke to Putin on Sunday for an hour, calling for a ceasefire or humanitarian corridors of the kind the two men have negotiated in Syria. 无论哪种方式, his call achieved little.

But Erdoğan has previously taken a bet on Russia. It chose to purchase Russian S-400 air defence systems, prompting US sanctions and Nato criticism. Its tourism sector relies heavily on 5 million Russian visitors annually, and Russia is overseeing Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear plant in Mersin province. Gazprom owns Turkstream, the gas pipeline from Russia that meets 40% of Turkish demand.

For Turkey’s right wing, what is at stake is not Europe’s future, but Turkey’s as an ascending power. But Turkey is also a Nato member, looking for a way back with the US, and is Ukraine’s fifth biggest trading partner. Perennially balancing east and west, Turkey is probably not the honest broker that Putin wants.

A third mediator has been the 阿拉伯联合酋长国, close to Moscow and always happy to put out the welcome mat for the Russian elite. The UAE abstained in a UN security council vote on Russia’s invasion, with the country’s senior diplomat, Anwar Gargash, saying in a Twitter post that the Gulf state “believes that taking sides would only lead to more violence”.

He asserted: “On the Ukrainian crisis, our priorities are to encourage all parties to adopt diplomacy and negotiate to find a political settlement that will end this crisis.” When the vote returned to the general assembly a few days later, 然而, the UAE did vote against Russia.

Bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, spoke to Putin, saying the country would “continue its coordinations with the concerned parties in order to help find a sustainable political solution to the ongoing crisis”.

The UAE does not want to damage its ties to Russia. They work together in Libya and elsewhere in Africa. Trade between the two countries has grown tenfold since 1997 to $5bn (£3.8bn) 在 2021. The UAE accounts for 55% of the total trade between Russia and the Gulf region, and is the largest Arab investor in Russia, accounting for 80% 总数的.

The fourth and latest mediator is Modi. He spoke to Putin on Monday and urged the Russian leader to hold direct talks with Zelenskiy. An advocate of multi-alignment, 印度 has also faced some obloquy for abstaining both at the UN security council and the general assembly on 2 行进. India’s first duty was to evacuate more than 16,000 Indian students trapped in Ukraine. But it feels constrained. Close to 60% of India’s military hardware comes from Russia, and most of its civilian nuclear technology, but it hoped it could persuade Russia to lean away from China. That now looks less likely.

India’s refusal to condemn also shows the limits of the Quad, the four-way nascent partnership between Japan, 印度, the US and Australia supposed to act as a point of light to countries in the region opposed to China.

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