Putin Prefers a Bad Peace in Ukraine (2022)

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In February, it is a long way to the spring, lamented Joseph Brodsky. Indeed, snow still falls heavily in Moscow and Kiev as well as in the steppes that form Russian-Ukrainian borderlands, but there it is tinted with red. Soldiers are loth to fight in the winter, when life is difficult anyway in these latitudes, but fighting already flared up in war-torn Donbass, and the US prepares to escalate by supplying sophisticated weapons to Kiev. Tired by the siege and by intermittent shelling, the rebels disregarded snow and took the strategic Donetsk airport. This airport with its Stalin-built tunnels, a symbol of solid Soviet defence work, presented a huge challenge for underequipped militia. Its many-leveled underground facilities were built to sustain a nuclear attack; still, the rebels, after months of fighting, flushed the enemy out and took it.

In a bigger offensive, they trapped Kiev’s troops in Debaltsevo pocket, and Kiev already sued for a cease-fire. The rebels hope to dislodge the enemy from their lands altogether, as now they hold only about one third of Donbass; but Russia’s president still gropes for brakes. He prefers a bad peace to a good war. For him, the Ukraine is important, but not a sine qua non, the only problem in the world. This attitude he shares with the American leader. There is a big difference: Russia wants a peaceful Ukraine, Americans prefer one at war.

Russia would prefer to see Ukraine united, federal, peaceful and prosperous. The alternative is not very tempting: Donbass is strongly connected to the rest of Ukraine, and it is not easy to switch its ties. The war already had sent millions of refugees from Donbass and from Ukraine rump to Russia and overloaded its systems. Putin can’t cut off and forget about Donbass – his people would not allow him anyway. A cautious man, he does not want to go an open-ended war. So he has to navigate towards some sort of peace.

I had a meeting with a well-informed and highly-placed Russian source who shared with me, for your benefit, some inner thoughts on condition of his anonymity. Though the West is certain that Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union, actually the Russian president did everything he could to save the Ukraine from disintegration, said the source. That’s what Russia did in order to bring peace to Ukraine:

  • Russia supported the West-brokered agreement of February 21, 2014, but the US still pushed for the next day (February 22) coup, or “had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine” , in Obama’s words.
  • After the coup, the South-East Ukraine did not submit to the new Kiev regime and seceded. Still, Moscow asked the Donbass rebels to refrain from carrying out their May referendum. (They disregarded Putin’s appeal).
  • Moscow recognised the results of sham May elections carried out by Kiev regime after the coup, and recognised Poroshenko as the president of the whole Ukraine – though there were no elections in the South East and opposition parties were banned from participating.
  • Moscow did not officially recognise the results of November elections in Donbass, to the chagrin of many Russian natoinalists.

These steps were quite unpopular in Russian society, but Putin made them to promote a peaceful solution for Ukraine. Some warlike Donbass leaders were convinced to retire. In vain: Putin’s actions and intentions were disregarded by the US and EC. They encouraged the ‘war part‎y’ in Kiev. “They never found a fault with Kiev, whatever they do”, said the source.

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Peace in Ukraine can be reached through federalisation, my source told me. That’s why two most important parameters of Minsk accords (between Kiev and Donetsk) were those we never hear about: constitutional and socio-economic reforms. Russia wants to secure territorial integrity of the Ukraine (minus Crimea) but it can be achieved only through federalisation of Ukraine with a degree of autonomy being given to its regions. Its west and east speak different languages, worship different heroes, have different aspirations. They could manage together, just, if the Ukraine were a federal state, like the US or Switzerland or India.

In Minsk, the sides agreed to establish a joint commission for constitutional reforms, but Kiev regime reneged on it. Instead, they created a small and secretive constitutional committee of the Rada (Parliament). This was condemned by the Venice Commission, a European advisory body on constitutional matters. Donetsk people wouldn’t accept it, either, and it is not what was agreed upon in Minsk.

As for integration, it was agreed in Minsk to reintegrate Donbass within Ukraine. This was disappointing for Donbass, but they accepted it, – while Kiev laid siege to Donbass, cut off its banks, ceased buying Donbass coal, stopped paying pensions. Kiev troops daily shell Donetsk, a city of a million inhabitants (in peaceful times!). Instead of amnesty for rebels, as agreed in Minsk, there are more government troops pouring eastwards.

The Russians did not give up on Minsk accords. The Minsk agreements could bring peace, but they have to be implemented. Perhaps President Poroshenko of Kiev would like to, but the Kiev war party with its western support will unseat Poroshenko if he goes too far. Paradoxically, the only way to force him to peace is war—though Russia would prefer the West to put pressure on its clients in Kiev. The rebels and their Russian supporters used warfare to force him to sign Minsk accords: their offensive on Mariupol on the Black Sea was hugely successful, and Poroshenko preferred to go to Minsk in order to keep Mariupol. Since then, Kiev and Donetsk had a few cease-fires, they exchanged POWs, but Kiev refuses to implement constitutional and socio-economic demands of Minsk accord.

It does not make sense to cease fire, if Kiev uses it to regroup and attack again. A cease fire should lead to a constitutional reform, said my source, a reform negotiated in an open and transparent dialogue of the regions and Kiev. Without a reform, Donbass (or Novorussia) will go to war. So the Debaltsevo operation can be considered as a way to force Poroshenko to sue for peace.

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Russia does not intend to take part in the war, or in peace negotiations, said the source. The Russians are adamant to stay out, while the Americans are equally adamant to present Russia as a side to conflict.

Putin Prefers a Bad Peace in Ukraine (1)

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Meanwhile, the Russian-American relations were moved forty years back to Jackson-Vanik amendment of 1974 by the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014. The US Secretary of State John Kerry considered this act an unfortunate development, but a temporary one. The Russians are not that optimistic: for them, the Act codified anti-Russian sanctions. The US tries to turn other states against Russia, with some success. In one sweep the German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel eliminated all organisations, structures and ties built between Germany and Russia for many years. Every visit of Joe Biden causes a conflagration.

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The Russians are upset with the story of the Malaysian Boeing. In every high-level encounter with the Americans, they remind of the hysterical accusations and claims that the liner was downed by the rebels using Russian missiles. Six months passed since the tragedy; still the Americans have not presented any proof of Russian and/or rebel involvement. They did not present photos of their satellites, nor records of their AWACS aircraft hovering over Eastern Europe. My source told me that the American high-ranking officials do not insist anymore that Russians/rebels are involved, but they stubbornly refuse to apologise for their previous baseless accusations.

Still the Americans want to play the ball. They insist that they do not seek Russian ‘surrender’, that they find the confrontation costly and unwelcome, while the US needs Russian support for dealing with Iranian nuclear programme, with removal of Syrian chemical weapons, with Palestinian problem. The Russians retort they have heard it all during the Libyan affair and aren’t impressed.

Differences of opinion between Russia and the US are substantial in practically every area. There is one common feature: from Syria to Donbass, Russians endorse peace, Americans push for war. Now the Russians invited some opposition figures and the government representatives from Syria for talks in Moscow. They came, talked, went away and will come again. They could probably settle but the US representatives say that they will never reconcile to Bashar Assad presidency and will fight to the last Syrian for his dismissal. It makes sense for them: every war on the globe supports the US dollar and invigorates Dow Jones, as capital seeks safe haven and finds it in the US.

They do not think about fate of Syrians who flee to Jordan – or of Ukrainians who escape to Russia in ever increasing numbers. What a shame for two wonderful countries! Syria was peaceful and prosperous, the diamond of the Middle East until ruined by the US-supported islamists; the Ukraine was the wealthiest part of the USSR, until ruined by the US-supported far-right and oligarchs. Joseph Brodsky bitterly predicted in 1994, as the Ukraine declared its independence from Russia, that the shifty Ukrainians will evoke their Russian in their mortal hour. This prophesy is about to be fulfilled.

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FAQs

What is the main reason for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? ›

Following the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in 2014, Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula was occupied by unmarked Russian forces, and later annexed by Russia, while pro-Russia separatists simultaneously engaged the Ukrainian military in an armed conflict for control over eastern Ukraine; these events marked the beginning of ...

What do you call someone who loves Russia? ›

(Learn how and when to remove this template message) Russophilia (literally love of Russia or Russians) is admiration and fondness of Russia (including the era of the Soviet Union and/or the Russian Empire), Russian history and Russian culture. The antonym is Russophobia.

Is Russia running out of weapons? ›

"Their gains are being reversed. The costs to Russia - in people and equipment are staggering. We know - and Russian commanders on the ground know - that their supplies and munitions are running out. "Russia's forces are exhausted.

How many Russians are leaving Russia? ›

An upper estimate is for 700,000 Russians to have fled conscription since it was announced. Many went to Kazakhstan, Serbia, Turkey, UAE, Georgia, and Finland. Putin signed a decree introducing prison terms of up to 15 years for wartime acts, including voluntary surrender and desertion during mobilization or war.

Why is Ukraine so important to the United States? ›

Ukraine is a key regional strategic partner that has undertaken significant efforts to modernize its military and increase its interoperability with NATO. It remains an urgent security assistance priority to provide Ukraine the equipment it needs to defend itself against Russia's war against Ukraine.

Why is Ukraine not in NATO? ›

Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President.

What do Russians call their girlfriends? ›

Russian has a lot of words and phrases for girlfriend. These words include podruga, devushka, paren', molodoi chelovek, and moia. Podruga, in British, means “girlfriend”; however , the meaning of 'girlfriend' is less charming than 'devushka'.

What are Russian marriages like? ›

A traditional Russian wedding can last between two days and one week. The celebration involves dancing, singing, toasting, and banqueting. The best man and maid of honor are called Witnesses or Свидетели (svideteli) in Russian. The ceremony and the ring exchange take place on the first day of the wedding.

What do Russians call their kids? ›

A young child can be called малыш [mah-LYSH] — a little one; зайчик [ZY-chik] — a little wild rabbit; even рыбка [RYB-kah] — a little fish. Generally, the Russian language is rich with suffixes that modify the meaning of the original word.

How much ammunition does Russia have? ›

How Many Artillery Shells Does Russia Have Left? - YouTube

What country has the most Ukrainian refugees? ›

As of 29 September, the countries receiving the largest numbers of Ukrainians are Russia (2.8 million), Poland (1.4 million), Germany (1 million) and the Czech Republic (0.4 million), with the latter now hosting the largest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita.

Can Russian citizens travel to USA now? ›

Russian citizens who wish to travel to the US for business or tourism purposes must apply for a US B1/B2 Visa. While the application process cannot be 100% online, iVisa can help you obtain the confirmation page you are required to have for your interview at the embassy, and they can do that offline or online.

Are Russian citizens allowed travel? ›

The rules on issuing visas are tighter and processing times are longer. However, Russian nationals can still technically access the EU via third countries and get 90-day short-stay visas, pending successful applications. They can also move freely within the majority of the Schengen Area once inside it.

How much US military aid does Ukraine give? ›

To meet Ukraine's evolving battlefield requirements, the United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities. In total, the United States has committed more than $18.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since January 2021.

What weapons has the US sent to Ukraine? ›

M-777 155 mm Artillery Howitzer

Those have been sent to Ukraine along with a small number of additional howitzers that were squeezed out of overhead activities. Total production was about 1,000 systems, divided about evenly between the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.

What does United States get from Ukraine? ›

The top three U.S. imports from Ukraine, also by value, were Seamless iron tubes and pipes, (2) Pig iron, and (3) Fruit and vegetable juices, not fortified. By tonnage, the top three U.S. exports were (1) Returned exports, with change, (2) Passenger vehicles, and (3) Tractors.

Is NATO the strongest military alliance in the world? ›

NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world. At its formation, NATO had 12 member countries, which has now increased to 29 member countries and four aspiring member countries.

Why is Australia not part of NATO? ›

A world map reveals that, first, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere and, second, it lies not in the Atlantic Ocean but, rather, in the Indian and Pacific oceans. NATO is principally for the nations located in the region of the North Atlantic and also nations neighboring or near such nations.

What does NATO stand for? ›

What do Russian children call their parents? ›

Most commonly Russians use the words Mama and Papa to refer to their parents.

What do you call your wife in Russian? ›

“Wife” in Russian is жена (zhena).

What is the marriage age in Russia? ›

Under the Family Code 1997 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However individuals can marry at 16 years with permission of local public authorities.

Who pays Russian wedding? ›

Did you know that a traditional Russian Wedding can last between two days and one entire week? And that the groom has to pay a ransom for the bride when he arrives at bride's home?

Why do Russians get married early? ›

The Russian tradition, according to which a young woman had to get married as early as possible traces its roots to the distant past. In the ancient Rus', a fifteen year-old girl was considered to be mature enough for adult life and giving birth to children.

What do Russian girls call their father? ›

Папа This is the most common way to say father in Russian and is suitable for most social settings, from formal to informal. The word carries a neutral to affectionate meaning.

What do Russians call their older sister? ›

Relatives and family in Russian
EnglishRussian with Transliteration
sisterсестра [sistrá]
elder sisterстаршая сестра [stárshyja sistrá]
younger sisterмладшая сестра [mlátshyja sistrá]
stepsisterсводная сестра [svódnaja sistrá]
73 more rows

What do French call their lover? ›

Mon amour. The most well-known French endearment term, meaning my love.

What did Russia take from Ukraine? ›

In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. This event took place in the aftermath of the Revolution of Dignity and is part of the wider Russo-Ukrainian War.

What causes war? ›

War is caused by many different things, including competition over land, religious conflicts, and nationalism. Imperialism, racism, and slavery have also been causes of armed conflict.

When did Ukraine separate from Russia? ›

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This started a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession. Subsequently however, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth until the economy plunged during the Great Recession.

Did Crimea vote for Russia? ›

The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 97 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83 percent voter turnout, and within the local government of Sevastopol there was also a 97 percent vote for integration into Russia with an 89 percent voter turnout.

How many tanks does Russia have? ›

According to the Military Balance 2021, quoted in Kyiv Independent, Russia has over 10,000 battle tanks in storage, mainly T-72s and T-80s.

Who did Crimea originally belong to? ›

Greek settlement

Greek city-states began establishing colonies along the Black Sea coast of Crimea in the 7th or 6th century BC.

What's the number 1 cause of war? ›

1. Economic Gain. Often wars are caused by one country's wish to take control of another country's wealth. Whatever the other reasons for a war may be, there is very often an economic motive underlying most conflicts, even if the stated aim of the war is presented to the public as something more noble.

How can war be stopped? ›

Arms control and diplomacy remain essential strategies for stopping war, but the roots of war must also be addressed. The law enforcement/military approach to countering terrorism may weaken terrorist groups, but it also may increase their will to fight and popular support for their cause and endanger civil liberties.

Is war needed for peace? ›

War is not the only way to bring peace. There are many alternative ways such as negotiating to terms which are reasonable for both the countries and hence resolving the problem. There shall always be a win-win situation. Some terms shall be accepted by one party and some by the others.

Can Americans go to Ukraine? ›

Reissued from October 4, 2022 with updates to security information. Do not travel to Ukraine due to Russia's full-scale invasion. The Department of State continues to advise that U.S. citizens not travel to Ukraine due to active armed conflict.

What is Catholic Relief Services doing in Ukraine? ›

CRS and Caritas partners on the ground need immediate support to meet both ongoing needs as the situation intensifies. With your gift, families in Ukraine and the surrounding countries receive food, clothing, transport to safe shelter, cash assistance, counseling and care for children.

What is the best Ukraine charity to donate to? ›

The best charities for supporting Ukraine are United24, Razom for Ukraine, and the Prytula Foundation. These charities work on the frontlines in Ukraine, delivering life-saving services to people affected by the ongoing conflict. They also raise funds to support local Ukrainian relief programs.

Which side was Ukraine on in ww2? ›

Ukrainians who chose to resist and fight German occupation forces joined the Red Army or the irregular partisan units. However, the Ukrainian population of western Ukraine, had "little to no loyalty towards the Soviet Union", whose Red Army had seized Ukraine during the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939.

Did Chernobyl belong to Russia? ›

Independent Ukraine (1991–present)

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chernobyl remained part of Ukraine within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone which Ukraine inherited from the Soviet Union.

Is Chernobyl in the Ukraine or Russia? ›

The Chernobyl disaster (also called the Chornobyl disaster) was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union.

Videos

1. Putin wants to end Ukraine war ‘as soon as possible’
(Sky News)
2. Macron: Russian resentment could be a reason Putin chose to invade Ukraine
(CNN)
3. Vladimir Putin announces partial military mobilisation to fight Ukraine war – BBC News
(BBC News)
4. Did Nato get Putin and Ukraine wrong? Former head of Nato explains
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5. As Putin Threatens Nuclear Weapons Use, What’s Next in the Ukraine War? | WSJ
(Wall Street Journal)
6. Dangerous escalation as Russia to forcibly annex large part of Ukraine
(Channel 4 News)

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