The war in Ukraine has dragged on for over 30 days…..there have been meetings to try and find a diplomatic settlement of hostilities…..that is where I would like to write about and the games being played in the name of peace.
Ukraine and Russia have been meeting in Turkey to discuss the possibilities for an end to this conflict….
Zelensky has signaled that he is willing to ‘compromise’…..
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country was willing to “compromise” over the country’s Donbas region. A core Russian demand has been that Ukraine gives up its territorial claim to the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. However, Zelensky then appeared to contradict himself saying he would prioritize the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine.
The earlier statement was first time Zelensky has signaled a willingness to negotiate about giving up territory. Last week, he told CNN, “There are compromises for which we cannot be ready as an independent state. Any compromises related to our territorial integrity and our sovereignty.”
After an offering from Zelensky…..
Russia’s military announced Tuesday that it would “drastically” reduce operations near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv as talks between the warring sides in Istanbul made progress towards a peace deal.
Speaking to reporters following the talks, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said that “a decision was made to drastically … reduce the military activity on the approaches to Kyiv and Chernihiv.” He said Russia expects “relevant key decisions will be taken in Kyiv and the conditions for further normal work will be created.”
Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s head negotiator, described the Istanbul talks as “constructive” and said the Ukrainians delivered an outline for a peace proposal that will be relayed to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under the potential deal, Ukraine would vow not to join NATO or any other military alliance and vow not to host foreign military bases or develop nuclear weapons.
In exchange, Ukraine wants Russia not to block its EU bid and wants security guarantees similar to NATO’s Article 5, the mutual defense clause of the military alliance that outlines “an attack on one is an attack on all.” Ukraine wants guarantees from Russia, the US, the UK, China, Turkey, France, Canada, Italy, Poland, and Israel.
After hearing of this turn I waited for the ‘pundits’ to pee on the parade…..and they did….
“Actions speak louder than words” seems to be the quick response to Russia’s announcement during Tuesday peace talks that it would “fundamentally” cut back military operations around the capital of Kyiv, which it got within about 12 miles of, and near the northern city of Chernihiv. A roundup of caution and skepticism:
- President Biden told reporters, “I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are. We’ll see if they follow through what they’re suggesting.”
- An unnamed US official told the BBC, “Yes, we have seen the Russians begin to draw away from Kyiv, but we have little confidence at this stage that it marks some significant shift or a meaningful retreat. The Russians are still pounding Kyiv with airstrikes. Time will tell.”
- The AP counts US Secretary of State Antony Blinken among those who are skeptical. “There is what Russia says and there’s what Russia does,” he said while in Morocco Tuesday, “And what Russia is doing is the continued brutalization of Ukraine.”
- Ditto UK PM Boris Johnson, whose office released a statement saying in part, “We must judge Putin’s regime by their actions not their words,” Johnson’s office said. “Putin is twisting the knife in the open wound of Ukraine in an attempt to force the country and its allies to capitulate,” per Radio Free Europe.
- But the Washington Post reports a top Pentagon general told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday there were indications of “shifting dynamics” on the ground near Kyiv that seemed to lend credence to the idea of Russian troops cutting back.
- Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of War Studies at King’s College London, reframes the offer, telling the New York Times, “De-escalation is a euphemism for retreat. Russia is adjusting its goals to reality … it’s not a ruse to say that they are concentrating on the Donbas [a mostly Russian-speaking region in eastern Ukraine], because in reality that’s all they can do.”
- A French defense analyst pushes that forward, telling the Times that in order for Russia to make gains in a negotiation, it has to be in a more threatening position. “This is a chance for the Russians to consolidate, to regroup, to remove themselves from places out of reach logistically, where they have already run out of food and ammunition. … [Putin] will rebuild his army and continue.”
The one disturbing report, at least for me, was the US position…..
the State Department signaled that the US is discouraging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from making concessions to Russia in negotiations that are aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Zelensky has “made it very clear that he is open to a diplomatic solution that does not compromise the core principles at the heart of the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.”
When asked to elaborate on his point, Price said that the war is “bigger” than Russia and Ukraine. “The key point is that there are principles that are at stake here that have universal applicability everywhere,” he said.
Now why would the US be opposed to a deal that would end hostilities?
Think about it for you have the answer just bring it forward.
Without a deal then this conflict could turn into yet another endless war…..
An endless war in Ukraine is possible, but it will be dangerous and with the potential to escalate into an all-out conflict between Russia and Nato which might in turn escalate into a nuclear exchange. The likelihood of this occurring has increased for two reasons since the Russian invasion of 24 February. First, the Russian army has shown itself much weaker than anybody expected, increasing the chance of the Kremlin using tactical nuclear weapons to even the odds.
Second, Putin’s historic blunder in starting an unwinnable war in the first place shows that the Kremlin is a very poor judge of the situation on the ground in Ukraine. Equally important, the Kremlin wholly underestimated the furious reaction of the US and the rest of Europe to the invasion. The danger is that these serial misjudgments would in the future extend to the prospect of Russia using nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Ukraine Could Turn Into Another Endless War, Especially if NATO Decides More Than Just Peace is Needed
Personally, I think that if both sides can calm down and look at the bigger picture they can come to some sort of ‘peace’….but that would mean that looking forward would solve some of the problems.
I Read, I Write, You KNow
“lego ergo scribo”