Preparing for Diplomacy: Russia and Ukraine

RAND senior political scientist Samuel Charap makes the case for steps that could be taken to lay the groundwork for eventual diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine.


Samuel Charap, Senior Political Scientist

The conflict in Ukraine today might seem quite far away from a diplomatic resolution. We make the case that steps can be taken now to lay the groundwork for that eventual diplomacy, and that even if it's not going to take place within the short term time frame, it's important to do that now so as to enable a long term negotiated solution, because as we argue in the piece, the alternatives are likely to be worse from a U.S. perspective, particularly how a protracted conflict might affect all the parties involved.

Now is a moment when channels of communication need to be kept open, both to minimize the risk of escalation and to lay the eventual groundwork for a diplomatic process. At some point, there's going to have to be some degree of interaction among the various parties involved in the conflict, and the sooner we get those channels working, the more plausible becomes a negotiated outcome and we might head off worse outcomes, such as escalation or a conflict that lasts potentially for years.