Austrian or Swedish neutrality on the negotiating table between Ukraine and Russia: but Kiev asks for guarantees

The two hypotheses could constitute a starting point for reaching an agreement. Zelensky, however, asks for guarantees to ensure sovereignty and independence for the country

Austrian or Swedish neutrality. In the diplomatic rear, while the war does not stop, we begin to discuss a formula for starting a concrete negotiation between Ukraine and Russia. Vladimir Putin could block the army and allow the government to Volodymyr Zelenksy
to survive. In return, Ukraine should commit to transforming itself into a neutral state. Today, Wednesday March 16, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that for Moscow the neutrality of Ukraine could be a starting point for reaching an agreement. Zelensky rejected the proposal, noting that the country is at war with Russia and therefore neutrality would not be enough to ensure its sovereignty and independence. Zelensky calls for the international community to act as guarantor in a peace agreement.

In any case, there are two models of neutrality on the negotiating table. The Swedish (or Finnish) and the Austrian one. There Sweden declared itself neutral as early as 1834, ending a long season as a great power. During the Second World War the Swedes managed to escape, without taking sides in the conflict. However, they allowed the German armies to cross their territory to reach Finland. In 1945 Sweden confirmed its neutrality status, but without sanctioning it either in the Constitution or in an international treaty. In essence, the Swedish Parliament, as well as that of Finland which applies the same formula, could decide to change its international position. So much so that for some months, precisely in the face of Putin’s aggression, Sweden and Finland have been evaluating whether to join the Atlantic Alliance.

The condition ofAustria different: neutrality enshrined in the Constitution since 1955. an integral part of the identity of the new state that emerged after the Second World War. a choice that cannot be reversed with a simple political decision. Instead, a complicated constitutional revision process is needed. This is why we speak of perpetual neutrality. It is important to note that both Sweden, Finland and Austria have armed forces, whose task, however, is limited only to the defense of the national territory. However, Austria still maintains a channel of dialogue or connection with NATO. But above all, Austrians, Swedes and Finns have been members of the European Union since 1995. In that year the EU opened up to the three neutral states of the Old Continent (Switzerland renounced in 1992, after the negative outcome of a referendum).

Neutrality, either perpetual or de facto, did not prevent Vienna, Stockholm and Helsinki from returning to their natural place in the European construction and gaining a weight in the political equilibrium. Something similar could also be hypothesized for Ukraine, but without forcing the times and procedures. However, this scenario is linked to a number of conditions. The first is that legitimately dictated by Zelensky: full sovereignty of Ukraine it should be guaranteed internationally with restrictions also accepted by Moscow. And Ukraine can remain a sovereign state if it will keep its capital, its territory and its outlet to the sea, with Odessa. At the same time, however, the Ukrainian parliament should change the Constitution, eliminating the amendments introduced in 2019. There are at least four passages, in the preamble and in the articles on the competences of the government, the parliament and the president, which evoke the Euro-Atlantic path of the Ukraine. But on this point Zelensky has already opened, recognizing how Kiev will have to revise the plan to move closer to NATO.

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