The Russia-Ukraine conflict started over a month ago. Putin is being blamed for igniting terror in Ukraine by attacking the civilians and their hideouts. Many international and Ukrainian politicians, such as US President Biden, Ukrainian President Zelensky, Ukrainian MP Alexey Goncharenko, and others have called out Putin for his aggression in Ukraine.
After three weeks of fighting in Ukraine, Putin seemed to realize that he could not exert his control over the entire country. There are various reasons behind this, including unexpectedly strong resistance from the Ukrainian military forces and civilians, muddy ground conditions that hinder the moving of heavy equipment, effective resupply from the West, and poor performance by Russian ground soldiers.
Then again, the recent bombing of civilian targets has been intended to redirect Ukraine’s resources away from fighting Russians and toward caring for its people, as well as to disrupt logistics in the country’s largest cities and along important supply routes. The chaos limits Ukrainian military’s ability to respond quickly to further Russian incursions. Russia has really started playing dirty despite rising heavy sanctions on it.
If a victory cannot be achieved within the rules of war and the Geneva Convention, then for Russia, terror and war crimes will have to suffice. The terror campaign is succeeding where the military effort has failed. Backchannel talks are taking place between Turkey, Israel, and other parties to cease the violence, which will almost definitely require concessions from Ukraine.
Ukraine will also declare its neutrality and its refusal to join NATO. They might also agree to a demilitarized zone stretching hundreds of kilometers west of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Prior to the war, Russia’s demands were aimed at increasing its security perimeter and preventing the deployment of further NATO troops near its borders. Ukraine was called to recognize the independence of the eastern ‘rebel republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk, to permanently surrender Crimea, disarm at least partially, and refuse to join NATO. Ukraine, the West, and the NATO rejected all of these demands.
Following the commencement of the war, Putin expressed his goal was “de-Nazification of Ukraine,” recasting Jewish Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a Nazi. Ukraine, NATO, and the West have put pressure on Putin to end the conflict and come to a peace agreement, but there are just rumblings about what will be provided.
If we speculate on what the end will be, it seems that the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will become autonomous administrative zones, still technically part of Ukraine but operating as separate entities influenced by Russia. They will also be demilitarized, with just a lightly equipped local force, similar to the RCMP in Canada, to maintain peace and order. Russia will enjoy unrestricted access to those areas for trade and commerce.
Further, Russia will be granted permanent access to a new land connection between those districts and Crimea. Khrushchev gave the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine in 1954, and Putin will ensure it is permanently returned.
The Ukrainian government will keep power, but it will agree to a cap on the number of personnel in its military and the sort of weaponry it can have. Ukraine will also declare its neutrality and its refusal to join NATO. They might also agree to a demilitarized zone stretching hundreds of kilometers west of Donetsk and Luhansk.
It is evident that Putin is no longer battling for Ukraine’s subjugation; he is fighting for his own survival as the Russian Federation’s strongman
With this offer, Russia might provide billions to Ukraine to repair its infrastructure in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. Essentially, whatever foreign reserves Russia earns from exports will be routed to Ukraine for war reparations. The West will justify this concession by claiming that the Russian people are paying the price for Putin’s mistakes, which is unreasonable given that Putin was the sole prosecutor of the war.
The alternative to reaching an agreement with Putin is for the war to continue to go badly for him, and for him to deploy chemical weapons to inflict catastrophic carnage on the people of Ukraine. In Chechnya and Syria, he utilized them. There is a high probability of him doing the same in this battle. If he is losing ground to Ukrainian forces, it is also possible that he will use a tactical nuclear weapon on the field.
However, it is evident that Putin is no longer battling for Ukraine’s subjugation; he is fighting for his own survival as the Russian Federation’s strongman. Putin will not be able to survive in the long run. Europe will wean itself off Russian gas and cut its commercial ties with the east, depriving Moscow of its most profitable source of foreign currency. Russia’s economic progress will be hampered by continued restrictions on technology exports. China has expressed its disapproval with the conflict, and President Xi Jinping has asked the US and China to work together to find a solution. Given Moscow’s postwar status as a diplomatic pariah, China does not wish to be associated with it. The West is banking that, after Putin leaves office, the concessions made to stop the war may be reversed, and that, in an ideal world, a democratic Russia led by someone like Alexei Navalny will put an end to the annexation of Ukrainian territory.
The war in Ukraine will end soon, either diplomatically, with Putin emerging as the short-term victor, or with tremendous destruction on Ukrainian soil and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed needlessly by a maniac employing illegal munitions. There are awful choices everywhere, but some are definitely worse than others.