Russian President Vladimir Putin can’t be trusted under any circumstance.
Ukraine has been under severe pressure in recent months. This includes from some countries. In the WestTo sit down with Russia at the negotiating table and end the war. Putin clearly sees this opportunity to make peace and win concessions, at a moment when Russia is in serious trouble on the battlefield. The West should not be misled.
Colby Cosh, columnist and editor of NP Comment, publishes the NP Comment newsletter. It tackles important topics with verve, boldness and wit. Get NP Platformed delivered straight to your inbox every weekday at 4 p.m. ET.
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Ukrainians are entitled to defend their homeland for whatever time they choose. Canada and its allies should do everything in their power to ensure Ukraine has the tools and resources it needs, and resist the urge to press for a settlement that will only end up strengthening Putin’s hand.
Although Russia made significant gains at the start of the war, Ukraine’s plucky army has been steadily taking back territory in recent months, Nearly half of the original amount was reclaimed Russia’s land gained since February
Putin, who spent many years building his image of a confident and strong leader, appears to have realized that the war isn’t going his way and is now looking for an exit strategy to help him save his face at home.
Thus, Moscow has switched strategies, launching repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure that have left millions without heat, water and electricity as temperatures drop below zero, while putting diplomatic pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government to negotiate a ceasefire.
A barrage of Russian missile attacks forced Ukraine’s three nuclear power plants offline on Wednesday. Largest power failure The war has left Kyiv with millions without electricity and water, something that many people in the country have experienced since its beginning.
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, was interviewed the next day. Kyiv was urged to “end the suffering” by giving in to Russia’s demands — a not-so-subtle suggestion that Russia will continue to make Ukrainian civilians suffer unless their government capitulates.
Similar remarks were made by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin’s, Who said that? “Everything is in Ukraine’s hands,” and warned that if the country doesn’t give in to Russia’s demands, “it will lead to a complete destruction of Ukraine.”
Although it isn’t clear exactly what Russia wants, in the spring (when Moscow was admittedly much stronger), they It was reportedly included Guarantees that Ukraine would disarm and that it will not join NATO and give away territory.
Mykhailo Podolyak (an adviser to President Zelenskyy) was absolutely right He compared it to Moscow’s strategy of punishing civilians to force Kyiv to make unreasonable concessions to “the type of ultimatum that terrorists would issue: either I kill the hostages — the civilian population of Ukraine — or you do what we say.”
Zelenskyy also has none. Zelenskyy addressed the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday. He argued that Russia was not seeking a temporary reprieve, but to allow itself time to rebuild its economy.
“Simply the end of the war does not guarantee peace. Russia is now looking for a short truce — a respite to regain strength,” he said. “But such a respite will only worsen the situation.… Immoral compromises will lead to new blood.”
While Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan — which includes an end to the hostilities, the restoration of Ukrainian territory, compensation and prosecutions of war crimes — is unlikely to ever be accepted by Russia, he certainly has good reason to believe that anything less than a near total surrender by the Russians will only serve to plant the seeds for a future attack, one in which Ukraine may find itself at a distinct disadvantage.
The world should not forget that Russia explicitly guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity when it signed the Memorandum from 1994 BudapestIn return for Moscow’s promise not to use military force, Kyiv agreed to give up its nuclear weapons.
Russia demonstrated that the deal was not worth all the paper it was printed upon when it annexed Crimea in 2014. Many hoped that this would end the conflict. However, Putin proved that he is patient and aggressive in his imperial ambitions. Eight years later, Putin launched his current campaign for the takeover of the rest the country.
Given this history, there is absolutely no reason to believe that any deal signed with Russia will stand the test of time, especially if Ukraine gives up its weapons and doesn’t join NATO — the only two ways to ensure its future security. As Zelenskyy told the Halifax forum, “A truly real, long-lasting and honest peace can only be the result of the complete demolition of Russian aggression.”
Yes, it will result in more bloodshed for both sides. The Russian forces seem to be open to war crimes and intentionally targeting civilian infrastructure, so it is certain that those living in Ukraine will have a difficult winter.
But the Ukrainian spirit — which has stood steadfast in the face of Putin’s brutality for nine long months — will ensure that spring will come, both physically and metaphorically. We have no right to tell the Ukrainian people not to fight for their freedom as long they still have fighting spirit.
Our job in the West is to ensure they have what they need to continue to fight for a better future — not only for themselves and their children, but for the entire planet, as a win for Ukraine will give pause to despots the world over who have similar designs on other countries.