The images of the scenes in Ukraine recently have been hard to see. Many cities have been destroyed by Russian forces and millions of people have been forced to flee their homes. In what has been the most destructive ground battle in Europe since World War II, many lives have been lost and ways of life have been uprooted. But it looks like there may be a path to resolution in sight.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the TV star who was elected to the high office in 2019, has signaled that he would be open to political neutrality between Russia and the rest of Europe. This means that he would not pursue further opportunities to politically align Ukraine with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he sees as threats to Russia.
The European Union is a collection of countries of Europe that works together to ensure peace and prosperity on the continent. These countries use a common currency and often keep their borders open to one another. Russia has been at odds with the European Union since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since Ukraine borders Russia for hundreds of miles, Russia has seen Ukraine’s movement towards the European Union as a direct threat to their own country.
Whether that actually poses a threat to Russia and its citizens is a matter of some debate, but President Zelenskyy has taken advantage of a pathway towards peace. By saying that he is open to embracing neutrality, it seems as though he is assuaging Russian worries of an alignment with the European Union as a means to give Russia reason to stop the attack on his country. If the two leaders can agree on this point, it gives hope to the idea that the shelling of Ukraine may soon be over.