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Ukraine should not dismiss Putin’s peace offer so quickly

Peace or propaganda? Credit: Getty

June 16, 2024 - 8:00am

Peace or Propaganda? This is the question that immediately arises from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unexpected announcement that he would be willing to order an immediate ceasefire if Kiev began pulling its troops out of the four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and gave up on joining Nato.

Volodymyr Zelensky has already dismissed the proposal as a “complete sham”. But there may be further opportunities in the realm of diplomacy, driven by both changing domestic and international conditions. First, at a recent G7 meeting, the assembled nations decided to extend a $50 billion loan to Ukraine, financed by interest payments on frozen Russian assets. This was followed by the signing of a bilateral security agreement between the United States and Ukraine as well as a promise to crack down on countries that help Moscow circumvent sanctions. 

All of this happened ahead of the peace summit for Ukraine that will be hosted in Switzerland. If the G7 meeting should set the tone for the Swiss summit, Russia, which has been excluded, must expect that the 90 nations participating will join Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in upscaling their support of Ukraine.

At the same time, however, Putin also knows that Europeans are experiencing war fatigue, and political parties critical of “unlimited” support for Ukraine have made significant gains in the elections to the European parliament last weekend. In Germany, for example, the AfD and the Alliance Sarah Wagenknecht are openly calling for an end of aid — a similar position to that taken by the Austrian Freedom party and Hungary’s Fidesz. 

Maintaining disunity among Western allies is an important piece in Russia’s diplomatic toolbox, and this ceasefire proposal could be an effective means to do so. The more Russia-friendly political parties and commentators will most likely seize on Putin’s proposal, claiming that Moscow wanted peace all along and that it is the belligerent Ukrainians and their Western supporters who insist on continuing the war.

That being said, now that this offer is on the table the West cannot simply ignore it. Even if Putin is bluffing, he is also forcing the Americans and Europeans to put their cards on the table: both sides need to reveal what their end goal in this conflict is and how far they are willing to go in its pursuit. Is the western position to support the continuation of the war until the borders of 2014 are reestablished — or is there some readiness to cede territory to Russia? 

Despite the financial and military aid that keeps flowing, by now it is clear that no Ukrainian offensive will be enough to reclaim all of its lost territory. To do so would need the provision of the West’s most advanced weapons systems and the permission to strike deeply and constantly into Russian territory. While morally justified, such a step would be a further escalation, and there simply is no guarantee that if Russian cities come under fire, Putin would not resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons, bringing the world towards the brink of nuclear war.

On the other hand, Moscow’s peace offer has some hidden opportunities. Even a diminished Ukraine could become a prosperous nation with Western help, just like South Korea after 1953 or West Germany after 1945. 

At this point the Russian proposal is still too vague, and one must wonder if this is not just the attempt to reach a temporary ceasefire while preparing for a future offensive. But there might just be some value in calling his bluff.

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Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

Of course this proposal can be ignored. It’s yet more Putin nonsense.
The Russian proposal is not “vague”. It’s just ludicrous. As were Putin’s demands in late 2019.
Asking NATO to withdraw from Eastern Europe (he’s still demanding this) is never acceptable. Demanding Ukraine hand over provinces that Russia claims but hardly occupies is ludicrous.
As someone noted yesterday, Russia has so far issued over 30 “red lines” that the West should not cross. That have now been crossed without any consequences. Anyone remember how Sweden and Finland wouldn’t be allowed to join NATO “or else” ?
And yet, I have no memory of Ukraine or the West issuing any such “red lines”.
Why not ?
If Russia is permitted to bomb power stations in Ukraine then Ukraine must be permitted – indeed supported – in bombing power stations in Russia.
The West is finally coming to its senses in allowing Ukraine to actually use the weapons we’re providing them. And suddenly we find out that yet another Russian “wonder weapon” – the S400 in this case – can be wiped out at will.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

War is pretty easy sitting on the couch in your basement.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As is shilling for a dictator.

Matt F
Matt F
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

Absolutely, weak Western leaders allowing the Putin regime to have a monopoly on drawing “red lines” is exactly what allowed them to effectively get away with the annexation of Crimea and much of the Donbas in 2014, which directly led to the understandable misconception that the same would be the case with phase two of the conquest of Ukraine in 2022.This was entirely the wrong strategy to adopt with bullies like Vladimir Putin.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt F

What do you think the US should have done when Russia annexed Crimea? There was no invasion of Crimea. A vote was held by Crimeans who overwhelmingly supported joining Russia. Some claim the vote was forced, but public opinion polls by US pollsters both before and after the vote showed the same strong support. That Crimea is mostly ethnic Russians shows why that was the case.
The Donbas is different, but Russia never tried to annex the Donbas. In fact, Russia said it would not annex the region in spite of some separatist calls to do so. Under the Minsk accords the Donbas would have stayed in Ukraine with some autonomy.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

“There was no invasion of Crimea.”  <– Liar.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt F

Yes. Rewind to 1938. Much the same.

Stewart Cazier
Stewart Cazier
1 month ago

Ukraine did agree a peace proposal with Russia two years ago organised by the Turks, but the US blocked it. The headline is inaccurate – it is very unlikely that peace is an Ukrainian decision to make.

Punksta .
Punksta .
1 month ago
Reply to  Stewart Cazier

What a ridiculous claim – Ukraine is obviously free to accept recolonisation by Russia at any time. All they have to do is stop fighting. What possesed you to imagine otherwise?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago

Why would the “other nations” participating support Ukraine, when they haven’t so far?
Without China or Russia the whole thing is meaningless posturing.

Tonis Arro
Tonis Arro
1 month ago

What a ridiculous article.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Tonis Arro

What a ridiculous comment.

Tonis Arro
Tonis Arro
1 month ago

This is exactly the kind of train of thought that Putin expects from “useful idiots” in the West. People are tired of the war; the West is not ready for limitless support, and Ukraine can be happy and prosperous without Crimea and Donbas… so let’s do it. Western businesses can flock to Ukraine to support rebuilding it; we can lift the sanctions and benefit from cheap Russian gas and doing other business with Russia… It looks like a win-win, doesn’t it? Yes, but only to those whose memory is shorter than ten years. Russia will not become a normal country, ever. What will they do in the described situation? They will be preparing for the next war. And the Baltics is their next target.
And, finally, why can’t the West “simply ignore” the proposal? Imagine Hitler asking to stop the war on his conditions after having occupied parts of Europe…

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Tonis Arro

We cannot ignore the proposal because:

1. NATO is not ready for war. Ammunition production needs to increase. Enormously.

2. The US is borrowing more money than it can afford to pay for its wars already. If Trump is the next president he may not commit to future support for Ukraine anyway.

3. Ukraine is short of soldiers, ammunition and it’s economy is struggling, without financial aid, it would collapse. Europe and America already have debt problems, we cannot fund this indefinitely.

4. There are civilians in the eastern regions and crimea that have strong ties to Russia and actually some of them weren’t that chuffed with the outcome of the Maidan revolution. Some of them fight with the DPR forces against Ukrainians.

5. Tens of thousands of people have now been killed, conscription in Ukraine is increasingly difficult.

6. The us cannot afford to get embroiled in a NATO war, it cannot fight Russia in Ukraine, China in Taiwan and maintain stability in the middle east by supporting Israel all at the same time, it would be over stretched, bankrupt and woefully short of ammunition.

7. The west ‘isn’t ready for limitless support’ because our shambolic governments were not prepared for the war properly in the first place and so we are not ready to provide limitless support.

Tonis Arro
Tonis Arro
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

“We” are not Ukraine. It is only for them to decide whether to consider the proposal, and they have made their decision. NATO is not interested in any war; it is a defence organisation, but it is undoubtedly ready.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Tonis Arro

So…having provoked war, NATO isn’t interested in war…yeh right…

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

NATO has not provoked war. Stop being a Russian shill.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Tonis Arro

The original poster said:
‘And, finally, why can’t the West “simply ignore” the proposal?’

The ‘we’ was reference to ‘the west’ in general.

Worded better: The West cannot ignore the proposal because…

Although it is up to ukraine whether they accept the proposal or not, without western backing they would be defeated very quickly, so obviously it matters what other western governments think.

‘Undoubtedly ready’ – Based on what information. The Germans are certainly not ready. See my post above.
You say nato is not interested in any war – the danger of escalation into a nato conflict increases the longer this goes on. Ukraine cannot regain its territory without direct western intervention, that intervention would have to come from the armies that make up nato. So basically nato would have to get involved to push Russia back to the border.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Interesting that a clear explanation of facts gets some down votes…possibly they’re on the way to Ukraine this very moment…but very unlikely…

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman
1 month ago

It is likely that the US will block Ukraine from accepting any peace proposals. The war is too convenient a way to transfer money from the tax payer to the shareholders of the arms industries. The west is also trying to weaken Russia.

Punksta .
Punksta .
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

Kremlin comic-book stuff. How exactly could the US force Ukraine to keep fighting, if they preferred to let Russia recolonise them ?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Punksta .

Because they pay the leaders not to make peace.

Of course, eventually, as in Imperial Russia, the Ukrainian conscripts will vote with their feet.

Punksta .
Punksta .
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

More hilarious comic-book stuff. Actually exactly the opposite is happening. It is overhwhelmingly clear the Ukrainians do not want to be ruled by the Russian barbarian again. Which is no surprise, given that 90% voted to leave the Russian empire in 1991.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Punksta .

Donetsk and Luhansk most certainly want to be part of Russia…because Ukraine and the West reneged on the Minsk Agreements to allow them autonomy within Ukraine.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Well, the people that live in those regions are welcome to move to Russia if they like.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

No, no majority in Donetsk or Luhansk ever voted to leave Ukraine in a free election — only under Russian guns and after pro-Russian ethnic cleansing.
Russia never lived up to the Minsk accords, instead they gave BUK anti-aircraft systems to the likes of Strelkov.
Russia had to withdraw it’s little green men from Ukraine before any other party to the Minsk accords on the non-Russian side had anything to do in the first place.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

We don’t know what the person in Donbas would like, since they have not been allocated a free vote without people like Girkin/Strelkov pointing guns at them.

ИĐČĐ°Đœ Đ—Đ°Ń…Đ°Ń€ĐŸĐČ
ИĐČĐ°Đœ Đ—Đ°Ń…Đ°Ń€ĐŸĐČ
1 month ago
Reply to  Punksta .

ĐŸĐ”Ń€Đ”ĐČĐŸĐŽ Ń‚Đ”Đșста с ĐżĐŸĐŒĐŸŃ‰ŃŒŃŽ ĐșĐ°ĐŒĐ”Ń€Ń‹
The people of Ukraine voted in 1991 to preserve the USSR, but the final decision was not made by the people. The final decision was made for him by politicians in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Punksta .

Spot on P. There’s a a good number of Putin apologists subscribe to UnHerd, and a good number of its Authors too. Useful idiots to his cause.

Tonis Arro
Tonis Arro
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

The kind of stories were told to soviet schoolchildren in last century.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

The west is also trying to weaken Russia. Good. Sensible policy. I thoroughly support it.

Punksta .
Punksta .
1 month ago

What a ludicrous take. This is not a ‘peace’ offer, it is an egregious appeasement offer
+ let us keep what we have stolen
+ give us a bit more
+ you are not to join any defensive alliance that would make what remains of your country uninvadeable, thereby hindering our obvious intention of invading and stealing the rest of it at a later date

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Punksta .

Aren’t Ukraine’s demands also on the ludicrous side?
— All Ukrainian territory returned to Ukraine, including Crimea, which has belonged to Russia for a century more than it has to Ukraine, and which includes a naval base at Sebastopol that was built by Russia in 1783. Ukraine would de-Russify Crimea, but the vast majority of its citizens are ethnic Russians.
— Russia pays Ukraine war reparations.
— Russian leaders, including Vladimir Putin, are put on trial.
— Ukraine joins NATO and the EU. That means NATO bases and ships right on the 1,500 mile border with Russia.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Could the Ukranians answer Putin’s offer with a proposal that both sides withdraw troops from the contested areas, and that a U.N. peacekeeping force move in for 12 months. The U.N. would establish electoral rolls etc and then hold a referendum which would ask the people whether they wanted to be governed by Russia or Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine would have to agree to abide by the result.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

Yeah, good plan, apart from the “UN” bit. You might as well get the Teletubbies to do the peacekeeping and run the election.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

“Aren’t Ukraine’s demands also on the ludicrous side?” <– No.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Russia alone caused the war, and Russia alone committed the war crime of doing so, Russia should pay reparations in full. Russia has no rational need of any ports in Crimea.
If Putin can be gotten into a dock or assassinated, good.
Ukraine should join NATO and the EU It is already true there are NATO bases and troops all along Russia’s borders — if Russia had behaved itself they would be further away than now — and Russia has no rational objection nations closer to Russia than are now in NATO joining NATO, because it is only in response to Russian crimes that those nations seek to do so.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago

‘Volodymyr Zelensky has already dismissed the proposal as a “complete sham”.’

The entire war has been a complete sham. There is a fine line between brave and stupid. Completely dismissing Russias peace proposal falls on the stupid side of the line I believe.
We have already seen Ukrainians trapped without ammunition, we are struggling to keep up with the demand for artillery and they are struggling for soldiers. Russia has its own corruption problems. We are lucky that this war hasn’t spiralled out of control already considering the amount of corruption that was involved at the start.
Zelensky should put a suit on and start to consider the gravity of his situation. The us military knows that this will have to end in negotiations and that it would be nearly impossible at this point for Ukraine to regain its lost territory without NATO intervention. Nato is not ready, Germany has enough ammunition for two days:
‘From there, he jumped into the topic of defense, stating that Germany has been “cheating” on defense spending and failing to hit the 2 percent target expected of all NATO countries. This cheating, he noted, took the form of including “pensions” in Germany’s calculations, which should not actually count towards defense spending.

“Do you think that no one in the USA realizes what we are doing? This is madness: We have ammunition for one and a half to two days,” he said.’

https://rmx.news/article/german-stock-exchange-boss-slams-government-says-economic-policy-is-sheer-catastrophe-and-migration-policy-is-universally-wrong/

Europe is not ready for war, without escalation we cannot help ukraine regain it’s territory – therefore it is surely very important that we take this diplomatic proposal seriously.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

Even with escalation there is nothing NATO can to do help Ukraine. NATO is no longer set up for a land war in Europe – after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, NATO pivoted to supporting the US’ imperial wars. NATO is good at bombing Serbian bridges and Afghan wedding parties, but little else.
Even while the Warsaw Pact was intact, NATO’s strategy was always defensive – we’ll try to hold the Soviets back as long as we can, and if they break through, we’ll use tactical nukes. That sums up the strategy. How is that going to win back any ground.
Even if Europe had the weapons (we no longer do) and the manpower (we don’t, not in any shape to fight), there is no way we could get any substantial amount of men and matĂ©riel to the front.
It’s all over bar the shouting.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago

‘ Even with escalation there is nothing NATO can to do help Ukraine. NATO is no longer set up for a land war in Europe’ – that was partly my point. I’m not sure I entirely agree that there is nothing at all we could do though.

‘Even while the Warsaw Pact was intact, NATO’s strategy was always defensive – we’ll try to hold the Soviets back as long as we can, and if they break through, we’ll use tactical nukes. That sums up the strategy. How is that going to win back any ground.’

I’m not sure I understand your question. How would that not win ground back. Surely nato aren’t that stupid that they would have this strategy you talk about, involving tactical nukes, if they didn’t think it would win back ground? What would be the point of the strategy anyway if it didn’t?
Not sure my understanding of nato strategy is the same as yours.

I hope it is over bar the shouting.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 month ago
Reply to  B Emery

My point about NATO’s Warsaw Pact-era strategy was that a tactical nuke would stop the expected Soviet juggernaut and prevent the loss of more terrain.
You cannot transpose this strategy into a situation which, for NATO/Ukraine, would be a war of (re-)conquest.
I’m sure NATO can “do something”, but what would be the objective? How would that objective be achieved? How likely are the chances of success? How high the likely price, and who will pay it?
Is the objective the weakening of Russia, as US SecDef Lloyd Austin and many other US officials have stated? If so, it has so far failed, but maybe it could be achieved through escalation. But it is hardly a Ukraine-focused objective.
Is the objective “Russia” (or, as the currently de rigueur styling seems to be – “Putin”) “must not be seen to be winning”? That is about as coherent a strategy as declaring that the tide must not be allowed to come in.
Is it a “free and independent Ukraine”? Ukrainians were denied that in 2014, but by the West, not by Russia, when the “investment” of US$5bn Victoria Nuland publicly boasted about to achieve regime change in Ukraine finally came to fruition. Ukrainians were denied that in 2019, when they overwhelmingly supported Zelensky’s peace platform, only to be reversed once he was in office. Ukraine were denied that in March/April 2022, when Ukraine’s negotiators popped champagne at the terms of the Istanbul Memorandum, only to be denied when Boris Johnson stormed into Kiev to oblige them to renege.

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago

‘My point about NATO’s Warsaw Pact-era strategy was that a tactical nuke would stop the expected Soviet juggernaut and prevent the loss of more terrain.’

You actually asked how that would win back ground – ‘we’ll use tactical nukes. That sums up the strategy. How is that going to win back any ground.’ *edited because my brain failed. Sorry about that.
I understand what you are saying about the difference between nato defending against invasion and the offensive it would have to go on to clear out ukraine now. I’m pretty sure nato does have offensive weapons though that it could use in an offensive even if it is set up to be defensive. Really the pillocks that run our governments should probably have defended ukraine from the start, using nato, then the offensive wouldn’t be needed now.

I’m not transposing that strategy, I am saying that Zelensky is unrealistic to expect to reclaim Ukraines lost territory without help from either NATO or from some of the armies that make up NATO. Old strategy will not work in the present situation because the present situation is very different from what NATO was set up to deal with.
The objective, if Ukraine were to insist on reclaiming it’s lost territory, would obviously be reclaim the ground they have lost and restore their borders.
How we would achieve that – I’m not sure, we would need to make more changes and do that very quickly to even consider it. The price paid would be high, in lives and money. The outcome overall should obviously be a free and independent ukraine, it may well have been ‘denied them’ so far, but there was an enormous amount of corruption on both sides. Hopefully they getting are closer to achieving that objective now.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

Well, NATO had better start building up its arms so it can conduct a land war in Europe then, because one thing is certain, and that is that it WILL be at war with Russia at some point.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

I agree that NATO has to take defence seriously – with the emphasis on “defence” and “seriously”. That means cutting the apron strings with the US and agreeing a credible autonomous defensive capability.
Incidentally, a defensive posture is much cheaper than a power projection posture, and is by definition not a threat to others.
If we do that, there will be no war with Russia, since there would be nothing to fight about.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago

So aggressive powers have never in history invaded countries only set on defense?

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 month ago

Generally negotiated peaces throughout history have started with negotiations in which each side stakes out a maximalist position, then talk until something between the maximalist positions that both sides can (nearly always grudgingly) accept, in light of conditions on the ground, is reached. Putin has stated his. Ukraine has also made theirs clear — all Russians out of the 1992 borders and Ukraine joins NATO. When do the talks start?

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  David Yetter

Exactly, David. Talking can begin, while the fighting pauses. Both sides can rest and rearm, preparing for war while working towards peace.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago

Ukraine voluntarily gave up its Nuclear armaments in 1994 or thereabouts. Russia gave its solemn vow to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. What happened afterwards? You be the judge.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

What happened afterwards was a CIA coup deposing a duly elected President..

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Well, he tried to turn his back on Europe, and forge closer links with Russia! He needed to be got rid of!

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

No moron, Ukrainains protested an elected pro-Russian President who lost his political legitimacy because he was far too much pro-Russian, and when he fled the country, new elections were held per Ukrainian law. There was no CIA coup, Yanukovych fled because he realized he could not kill enough Ukrainians to keep power.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

You keep repeating the lies about the coup. When given arguments about what really happened you turn silent, and then you repeat the lies again in new threads.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Ukraine did not give up “its” nuclear armaments. Ukraine never had nuclear arms; some Soviet nuclear arms were based in territory that later became Ukraine, and the weapons were – to the US’ immense relief repatriated to the successor of the Soviet Union, i.e. Russia.
The US at the time were against Ukrainian independence, and it is delusional to believe the US would have quietly allowed, let alone welcomed, the emergence of another declared nuclear power as a co-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
As for the 1994 Budapest Memorandum – read it, it’s instructive.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago

However you parse words, Ukraine gave up Nuclear Weapons which it did not have to. It gave them up on the basis of reciprocal assurances by Russia that it would “respect Ukrainian territorial integrity”. Russia violated this pledge, full stop.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago

The ostensibly Russian nuclear arms were on Ukrainian sovereign soil, and Russia had no control of them but what Ukraine tolerated.
Ukraine gave up it’s nuclear weapons in exchange for peace guarantees from Russia which were meaningless.
Given the extent to which they were meaningless. the US now would make only the most pro forma objections to Ukraine re-acquiring nuclear weapons.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
1 month ago

Russia is losing vast quantities of it’s material in Ukraine. And on the domestic front it’s suffered more dead and maimed than 10 years in Afghanistan.

So Putin has every incentive to cut his losses and cement his gains.

But it’s 99% certain that they’ll lick their wounds and prepare for another go in the future. They’re in the Hitler style “we want no more territorial gains in Europe” stage, and their promises are worthless.

So any peace must be followed by Europe ramping up it’s defences and considering Russia an indefinite enemy. I.e. start cold war II.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

Russia is now the the fourth largest economy on the planet, its people have the highest standard of living they’ve ever had, military losses are small, it has the support of China and much of what the West called “the Third World”…

Yes the Neocon gamble has played out really well…that’s the gamble that Kennan, Kissinger, Mearsheimer and anyone with any common sense warned against…

Well done…three cheers for the clowns ruling “the West”…

Thor Albro
Thor Albro
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Russia is the eleventh largest economy, behind South Korea.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Thor Albro

Quite. Behind South Korea. A county with no natural resources to speak of which was one of the poorest countries in the world after WWII. Just let that sink in.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

South Korea of course had the good sense to never embrace Communism.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Fake economics there to go with your fake history. Pitiful really.
Is this really the best you can do ? Do try to make your lies at least credible.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

It was reported in the MSM recently…

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

Best check the latest World Bank figures…

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

It’s garbage and you know it.
Stop lying. If you can.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Russia is now the the fourth largest economy on the planet“. I’m not sure that is correct, but if it is, it means it needs to be taken down a peg or two.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Fourth largest economy? Where did you get that?

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
1 month ago

“Even if Putin is bluffing”
What a risible phrase. Putin requests that Ukraine cede all territories currently demanded by Russia, and refrain from joining a defensive alliance that may inconvenience him if he decides to come back for another bite.
Of course Putin would be happy to accept Ukraine’s total surrender. He may safely be trusted on that much, at least.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Gerry Quinn

Quite right. Why would anyone trust Putin on anything, ever?

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 month ago

Zelensky could have implemented the Minsk Accords. Ukrainians in east and west of the country elected him by a landslide on that platform. If he’d been allowed to do that, Ukraine would still have the four oblasts. But once he was elected, the powers that be explained to him the facts about the birds and the bees, so it didn’t happen.
The Istanbul Memorandum, initialled March/April 2022, would have led to a Russian withdrawal from the four oblasts. But again, Boris Johnson swanned in and reminded Zelensky of the facts about the birds and the bees. So the war continued.
Since 2014, Donetsk and Lugansk had wanted to join Russia, like Crimea had been able to. Russia consistently refused, pointing to the Minsk Accords.
Recognising after Ukraine’s reneging on the Istanbul Memorandum under NATO pressure that there would be no peace, Russia in September 2022 finally allowed Donetsk and Lugansk to join, and organised referenda in Kherson and Zaporizhiya as well. OSCE were invited to monitor the referenda, but declined. Predictably, the vote was for accession to Russia.
Ever since September 2022, the proposal Putin has now spoken out loud has been the only road to peace. Whether we like it or not, it’s a fact.
If the war goes on, the price might be higher – it might include Kharkov and Odessa. The price has already gone up since the Minsk Accords and the Istanbul Memorandum.
Ukraine proposing “terms for peace” at this juncture is like Nazi Germany drafting a Versailles-type peace treaty for the Allies to sign in the spring of 1945. Delusional.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

Ukraine could have kept it’s nukes. If it had, we wouldn’t be in this position.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago

No, Zelensky could never have implemented the Minsk accords. Firstly, they were a dead letter before he was elected. Secondly they were a dead letter because Russia never began to live up to them in the first place.

“The Istanbul Memorandum, initialled March/April 2022, would have led to a Russian withdrawal from the four oblasts.” <– Horseshit. No such agreement ever existed or could have. Why would Ukraine in the face of the war crime against Ukraine of Russian invasion, ever agree to be powerless to stop any such invasion in the future, especially when Ukraine had such excellent and recent examples that Russia and Putin could never be trusted? There was no agreement for Ukraine to renege on.

No, no majority in Donetsk or Luhansk ever voted to leave Ukraine in a free election — only under Russian guns and after pro-Russian ethnic cleansing.

Every belligerent Russian in Ukraine being killed or captured is the way to peace.

Ukraine proposing Russia leave Ukraine completely is perfectly reasonable and Russia being made to leave as violently as is required to effect it and Russia’s being made to understand it is not the 3rd Rome, and that it gets no “do overs” about the Cold War, and may never have further empire is also required for peace.

In the event Russia manages to bring NATO directly into this war, NATO’s war goals should be the forcible contraction of Moscow’s writ to the borders of the old Grand Duchy of Moscow — 3rd party international administration as required towards full nationhood of all other now Russian territories — the division of Kaliningrad between Lithuania and Poland — the full return of Karelia to Finland — and the full return of the Kurils to Japan.

The West is sick of Russia’s shit. Russia will quiet down or be muzzled from biting.

And may Xi well learn the lesson.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago

My knowledge of what is happening in Ukraine is all second- or third-hand. People with more knowledge than me seem to have opinions that range all over the map. Politics seems to influence what they say as much as fact.
I will say this — Donald Trump’s approach seems the most sensible to me. As he says, the American president should step into this war and use his power, as the leader of perhaps the most powerful country in the world, to end the war.
The president should act as an honest broker, and not as a negotiator for Ukraine. He should talk to Volodymyr Zelensky. Talk to Vladimir Putin. Try to work out a deal. End the killing and set the stage for the two countries to live together, as neighbors, in peace.
Finding a solution will not be easy. At this point it’s impossible to say what solution can be found. But that’s usually the way it is in negotiation. You find solutions by talking. The president can get the two countries talking. Perhaps in formal peace talks. Perhaps in private. Don’t worry about formalities. Just get to work.
To quote the fictional ambassador Hal Wyler in the fine Netflix show The Diplomat, “one of the boneheaded truisms of foreign policy is that talking to your enemies legitimizes them. Talk to everyone! Talk to the dictator and the war criminal. Talk to terrorists. Talk to everyone!” Or Moshe Dayan: “If you want peace you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” War is not a good way to settle disputes. Talking is.
That Ukraine scheduled this peace conference to promote its impossible demands was a good thing. That got Russia to propose its own impossible demands. We know have a floor and a ceiling and we can move on from there. And we should move on, with the American president leading the way.
Kamala Harris attended the peace conference, but she will add nothing to this process. Joe Biden might be able to do better, but he’s just a figurehead now, a president in name only. He’s not even trying. We need someone new.
Some people scoff at the notion that Donald Trump could end the war in Ukraine, and it’s true that when he said he could end it in 24 hours he was hyperbolizing. There’s no way that could happen.
But Donald Trump is no buffoon. Quite the contrary. Tucker Carlson made candid comments about Donald Trump to his biographer for the book Tucker. He said that Donald Trump was an ineffectual president because he is a terrible manager, and that’s mainly what the president does. But then Tucker Carlson noted that foreign policy is a big part of what a president does, and said, “no one has been more insightful about American foreign policy than Donald Trump.”
Tucker Carlson was right about that. Look at what Donald Trump was doing starting back in 2018, when other leaders in the world seemed little worried about Russia. Donald Trump went to Brussels to throw his weight around and reinvigorate NATO. He met with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. He pushed for Russia to be let back in the G7. He chastised Germany at the UN for putting its neck in a noose with its pipeline carrying Russian gas. He met with the newly elected Volodymyr Zelensky.
Donald Trump was criticized for doing all that. (The German delegation to the UN actually laughed at him for his remarks. They are not laughing now.) But what prescience. What an understanding of how the world works. We could use some of that now.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well said, Carlos!

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

The main problem with all that is that Trump is “Putin’s Poodle”.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

An idiocy to claim it. Trump! flatly told Putin not to invade, or the US would stop him.

That stopped Putin.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago

When Donald John Trump was president:

– No wars

When Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was president:

– War between Taliban and Afghanistan

– War between Russia and the Ukraine

– War between Hamas and Israel

– War between criminal gangs and Haiti

(But they said that under Trump, we would have endless wars?)

Curiouser and curiouser 
.. !

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

When Donald Trump was President:
1) he tried to rig an election
2) he sent his goons to invade Congress

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Both of your claims are abjectly false.

Tonis Arro
Tonis Arro
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Did he really?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

Either way, Moscow and Washington are treating the Ukraine as a buffet state. Washington should be magnanimous and stop their proxy nationalists feeding their people into the meat grinder. Doubtlessly booting the Democrats out of power will first be required.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Ukraine is not a “buffet state”. Putin might have thought he could scoff Ukraine down in one easy bite, but that didn’t happen. Putin believes that Ukraine is a large territory that is and always has been part of Russia, which he wants to regain as a buffer to NATO forces. Even a nuclear wasteland would suit his purposes.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

A “buffet state”? Do they do a good smorgasbord?

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Idiot, Ukraine is making war on belligerent Russians on it’s own territory for its own excellent reasons alone.
The West for it’s own good reasons should help Ukraine. A lot.

Liakoura
Liakoura
1 month ago

Why don’t the pro-Putin posters here go the whole hog and demand the return the entire former Eastern European Stalinist states to that new fascist that currently inhabits the Kremlin?

TÔnis Arro
TÔnis Arro
1 month ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Yes, looks they are the majority here…

Liakoura
Liakoura
1 month ago
Reply to  TĂ”nis Arro

Yes I’m amazed that one of the world’s true monsters can find so many defenders in such a small audience.
The Observer’s former political editor Robert Harris writing in the Prologue of his excellent 1998 historical novel ‘Archangel’, quotes J V Stalin, in 1918:
“Death solves all problems – no man, no problems”
He could easily be writing about V Putin today.
Later Harris writes:
“Professor I A Kuganov estimates that some sixty-six million people were killed in the USSR between 1917 and 1953 – shot, tortured, starved mostly, frozen or worked to death. Others say forty-five million. Who knows?
Neither estimate by the way includes the thirty million now known to have been killed in the Second World War. 
To put this loss in context: the Russian Federation today has a population of roughly 150 million. (current figure is around 144 million). Assuming the ravages inflicted by communism had never occurred, and assuming normal demographic trends, the actual population should be about 300 million. 
And yet this is surely one of the most astounding phenomena of the age – Stalin continues to enjoy a wide measure of popular support in this half empty land. His statues have been taken down true. The street names have been changed. But there have been no Nurenberg Trials, as there were in Germany. There has been no process here equivalent to de-Nazification. There has been no Truth Commission, of the sort established in South Africa…
…I say this not because Stalin killed more people than Hitler – although clearly he did – and not even because Stalin was more of a psychopath than Hitler – although clearly he was. I say it because Stalin, unlike Hitler has not yet been exorcised. And also because Stalin was not a one off like Hitler, an eruption from nowhere. Stalin stands in a historical tradition of rule by terror which existed before him. which he refined, and which could exist again. His, not Hitler’s, is the spectre that should worry us. 
Because you know, you think about it. You hail a taxi in Munich – you don’t find the driver displaying Hitler’s portrait in has cab, do you? Hitler’s birthplace isn’t a shrine. Hitler’s grave isn’t piled with fresh flowers every day. You can’t buy tapes of Hitler’s speeches on the streets of Berlin. Hitler isn’t routinely praised as ‘a great patriot by leading German politicians. Hitler’s old party didn’t receive more than forty percent of the votes in the last German election.
But all these things are true of Stalin in Russia today…
And of Stalin’s successor, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin?

Liakoura
Liakoura
1 month ago

Here’s Timothy Snyder in his book – ‘On Tyranny and on Ukraine. Lessons from Russia’s War on Ukraine’:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin told a story about the past that had nothing to do with history. Russia and Ukraine, according to him, were conceived together in a ruler’s baptism a thousand years ago. They shared the same culture, and therefore should be ruled by the same person. If anything else seemed to happen, it was not really history. Should Ukrainians not believe that they were Russians, this was the nefarious work of outsiders. Putin not only said such things; he had memory laws passed to prevent Russians from being challenged by history, and even had the word ‘Ukraine’ stricken from textbooks.
As logic, this is circular; and as politics, it is tyrannical. If I can claim that Canadians are Americans because they speak the same language, or because we share a common history, that would strike us as an idiotic reason to order an invasion. When a dictator claims the power to define other people’s identity, then the question of their own freedom never arises. If identity is frozen forever at the whim of a ruler, citizens soon find themselves without choices.”
Timothy Snyder is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 month ago

“The more Russia-friendly political parties and commentators will most likely seize on Putin’s proposal, claiming that Moscow wanted peace all along ” If Moscow wanted peace all along, a simple solution would be not to invade Ukraine. This suggestion is as daft as claiming Hitler wanted peace when he ordered the invasion of Poland.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Not quite so daft. Russia’s position is that Ukraine’s joining NATO was a red line, as Russia did not want NATO bases along its more than 1,000 mile border with Ukraine. Russia only went to war when Ukraine crossed that red line. War was Russia’s only choice, even though it wanted peace.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I think there needs to be some NATO bases in Finland. Putin can’t have a problem with that, right? I mean, he pretty much personally facilitated Finland’s joining of NATO.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

“I mean, he pretty much personally facilitated Finland’s joining of NATO.”

He practically guaranteed it.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

“Russia’s position is that Ukraine’s joining NATO was a red line” <– So what?
Ukraine never crossed that line at all and it is none of Russia business should they do so.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

But Ukraine wasn’t even close to joining NATO.
What Putin really feared was Ukraine evolving into well functioning western style democracy. Because of its cultural closeness, he was afraid the Russian people would look across the borders and demand the same. He feared a Maidan in Moscow, a velvet revolution in Russia. It was a question of regime security, not national security.

Will K
Will K
1 month ago

Given the realistic alternatives, Mr Putin’s offer is a good one for Ukraine.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Will K

Yeah, great. Subjugation to a tyrant. It’s a wonder Europe didn’t adopt that policy with Germany in the 1940s (well France did, I suppose).

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

To do so would need the provision of the West’s most advanced weapons systems and the permission to strike deeply and constantly into Russian territory.
Sure. What’s the problem with that? Russia needs to be taken down, and now’s the time to do it.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago

“Even if Putin is bluffing” <– Putin is not bluffing. He really wants to get away with excuseless aggressive war for territorial gain.

There is no excuse for entertaining his proposal seriously.