The military theorist Edward Luttwak sees a referendum in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions under a functional ceasefire as the only way out of the Ukraine war. He demands that this solution must be discussed more often.
More than 100 days after the start of the war, there is no end in sight in Ukraine. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak expects the war to drag on for another two to six months. Podoliak made it clear that negotiations would only begin when the situation on the battlefield changed and Russia no longer felt it could dictate the terms.
For strategy expert and military theorist Edward Luttwak, there is only one way to end the war: referendums in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This idea is hardly discussed at the moment, Luttwak criticized the “world”, but it is the only way out of the war. Thousands of inspectors would have to hold these plebiscites and the Russians and Ukrainians would have to accept the results, he says.
“The solution must be a referendum. The fact that the result of the plebiscite is not certain does not make it any less good. That makes it much better. Because both sides can hopefully go in, and then the result comes out, and the result is the result. And everyone goes home,” says Luttwak.
Luttwak compares the votes to the 1919 plebiscite. After World War I, referendums were held in many states without incident or fraud. “They didn’t start any wars. You stopped fighting. Even in Silesia, where people killed each other, the plebiscites ended the fighting,” says the military theorist.
Ukrainians could not refuse such a democratic approach. Luttwak believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin would also agree, so that he could say: “I won something for the Russian people. Because before that, they were prisoners, the poor Donetsk and Luhansk people.” However, a plebiscite would also lead to Russia giving up any claim to an area outside the Donbass, according to Luttwak.
However, such referendums would require a functional ceasefire. This could be enforced by lifting sanctions, such as those against the Swift international payments system, on condition that they can be used should the Russians take up arms, Luttwak said.