Petr Pavel, the newly elected president of the Czech Republic, has warned Western nations of the potential dangers of pursuing a policy of Russia’s defeat. During a Ukrainian Lunch hosted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation as part of the Munich Security Conference, Pavel urged that the West “be realistic: hope for the best but prepare for the worst” in order to avoid undesirable scenarios of a Russian defeat.
Pavel’s comments came in response to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s statement that regaining control over Crimea and making sure Russia is punished on an international level is the only path available. Pavel, however, cautioned against encouraging Ukraine to achieve certain results and said that Ukraine might change its vision at some point.
In his address, Pavel pointed out that a Russian defeat could lead to the country’s collapse, leading to more problems and no one to negotiate disarmament with. He also warned that pursuing a policy of Russia’s defeat could have other, unforeseen consequences.
Other participants in the Ukrainian Lunch, including the prime ministers of Sweden, Finland, and Estonia, did not share Pavel’s views. Earlier in the conference, the US accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity during its war with Ukraine, while Poland said it will consider handing over MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine.
Pavel’s remarks come at a crucial moment for international relations, with tensions between Russia and the West at an all-time high. Pavel’s call for caution and realism is timely and necessary, and should be taken into consideration by Western leaders. In any case, it is clear that the potential consequences of a Russian defeat must be carefully considered before pursuing such a policy.