US billionaire proposes peace plan for Ukraine and Russia
Ukraine should recognize Crimea as part of Russia and renounce its bid to join NATO for the sake of peace, US billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has said. As with SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk before him, Ackman was immediately criticized online for suggesting that Kiev should be ready to make concessions in order to end the hostilities.
“Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 and is largely comprised of ethnic Russians, which was apparently why the world did little when Russia annexed it back in 2014,” Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, tweeted on Monday.
He added that the borders should return to where they were prior to February 24, when Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring country and before four former Ukrainian regions voted to join Russia. He added that the West should then help Kiev with its recovery, while the country should stay outside NATO.
“Thousands of lives will be saved and resources can be invested to rebuild [Ukraine] rather than in a war that will only lead to more destruction and death,” the billionaire wrote. “If there is a viable path to peace, we should pursue it. Each day the conflict continues, the risk to the world rises.”
After receiving criticism online, Ackman clarified his stance on Tuesday. “Yesterday, I suggested that a reasonable peace settlement might be a return to the borders as of [February 24], a Marshall Plan to rebuild [Ukraine], and [Ukraine’s] decision to not join NATO. Then the knives came out. I was accused of being an appeaser and worse,” he wrote.
I ask: is [Ukraine] better off in a continued prolonged war that leads to 1,000s more [Ukrainian] deaths and the leveling of the country or does some kind of negotiated settlement make sense? … I am by no means an expert. It just saddens me to see death and destruction with no apparent end date or opportunity for resolution.
“In a negotiated settlement, both parties must concede something or there is no opportunity for resolution. What is the least that both parties can concede that is acceptable for both? What am I missing in my analysis? What better ideas do you have?” Ackman argued.
Ackman’s comments came as more public figures in the West have been making suggestions for a possible peace deal between Russia and Ukraine. Venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur David Sacks tweeted on Sunday that the US should propose a ceasefire based on the February 23 lines and guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO.
Musk offered his own vision of a peace settlement this month, which includes Ukraine recognizing Crimea as Russian territory. Kiev and Western officials quickly blasted Musk for what they considered to be a plan that heavily favors Moscow.