• jishiyama8

What does Putin want from Ukraine? Surrender first, then we can talk

Yesterday (March 7, 2022) Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced the conditions by which the Kremlin would consider a ceasefire. Russia would halt operations only if Ukraine ceased fighting and recognized Russia's annexation of Crimea and the independence of the two disputed regions in the Donbas held by Russian-backed separatists. In the longer run Ukraine must amend its constitution to declare neutrality, and pledge to disarm (https://en.as.com/en/2022/03/07/latest_news/1646687780_921749.html). Notably absent were demands for denazification and removal of the current regime.


It is likely that the Kremlin believes that by offering Zelensky political survival, he might be willing to accept these conditions. Recognition of annexation of Crimea will be very tough for the Ukrainians, but in the end they might accept this. As for the Donbas, this would be very difficult to accept-- perhaps some internationally supervised referendum in the Donbas that included independence or autonomy in a federalist system could be arranged, and Zelensky and Putin could pledge to abide by the results. This would provide a democratic "out" if the Donbas voted for independence under international supervision


However, neutralization and disarmament are not likely, because to do so would be to virtually surrender Ukraine's Sovereignty. In essence a foreign state would dictate its constitution almost as if was an occupier (as US wrote the Japanese constitution). Further, disarmament reminds one of the conditions imposed on Germany after the Treaty of Versailles, where the German Army was reduced to a maximum of 100,000 troops. This would be tantamount to unconditional surrender That would be unacceptable to the Zelensky government, especially if resistance continues, and Russia would likely only be able to dictate these terms if they seize Kyiv.


If the war drags on and the Russians are not able to score a major victory in the coming weeks, they may have to be satisfied with recognition of the Crimea as part of Russia and perhaps a referendum process in the Donbas, but that may be it.

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