Skip to content
The Editors

Diplomacy Can Still Prevent War in Ukraine

Finding common ground with Russia on arms-control issues could help resolve the crisis.

What is he thinking?

What is he thinking?

Photographer: Yuri Kochetkov/AFP/Getty Images

By all appearances, the standoff over Ukraine remains dangerous. Although Russia continues to deny that it plans an attack, President Vladimir Putin has massed troops, hardware, weapons stockpiles and medical units on Ukraine’s borders, and continues to add to their number. The U.S. is sending 2,700 troops to bolster NATO’s eastern flank, with at least 8,500 more ready to deploy. Having previously downplayed the prospect of an imminent Russian attack, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has more recently warned that the crisis could lead to a full-fledged European war.

Even so, there are glimmers of a way out. Confronted with a surprisingly strong and united Western response to his moves, Putin has signaled some willingness to entertain talks on Russia’s security concerns in Europe. While not bowing to Putin’s more extreme demands, U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders should seize the opportunity to find some common ground with him. Doing so has the potential to avert a calamitous conflict and advance the West’s security interests as well.