Russia rejects “freezing” options of Ukraine conflict, demands long-term security guarantees

“No ‘freezing’ or ‘Korean options’, which are increasingly being discussed in the West, are acceptable,” declared Pyotr Buyakevich, a high-ranking official at the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding the Ukraine conflict. 

Russia, today firmly rejected proposals from Western nations to pursue a “frozen conflict” scenario or “Korean option” to end the fighting in Ukraine, insisting on a comprehensive settlement that provides long-term security assurances for Russia.

“No ‘freezing’ or ‘Korean options’, which are increasingly being discussed in the West, are acceptable,” declared Pyotr Buyakevich, a high-ranking official at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Buyakevich’s statement is among the clearest signs yet that Moscow has no intention of allowing the conflict to settle into a frozen stalemate akin to other protracted regional disputes. It comes as military offensives on both sides have largely ground to a bloody stalemate after over a year of full-scale warfare.

The “Korean option” raised by some Western analysts refers to an armistice that freezes territorial lines but lacks a formal peace treaty, similar to the decades-old suspended conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Russia appears determined to avoid such a scenario in Ukraine.

Instead, Moscow is demanding binding security guarantees from Ukraine and its Western backers, likely involving commitments that Ukraine will not join NATO and that heavy weaponry will be pulled back from Russia’s borders. The precise terms, however, remain unclear.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly ruled out ceding territory to Russia or agreeing to any settlement that allows Russian forces to hold conquered areas. He has also insisted on restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including in Crimea, seized by Russia in 2014.

Western nations providing military and economic aid to Ukraine have largely backed Zelenskyy’s negotiating red lines. But with fierce fighting raging and no diplomatic breakthroughs, some have begun to float potential off-ramps to freeze the conflict, at least temporarily.

Russia’s stance, articulated by Buyakevich today, indicates that any such proposals will be non-starters for the Kremlin. Moscow seems intent on pursuing total military victory or securing ironclad guarantees to protect its perceived security interests vis-a-vis Ukraine and NATO.

With both sides digging in for a protracted fight, prospects for a negotiated settlement ending the largest ground conflict in Europe since World War II appear remote. The statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry suggests the pathways to demilitarizing the confrontation are narrowing.