Research Fellow of the British Royal Institute of International Affairs Chattam House, James Nixey said that pushing Ukraine to negotiation with the Russian Federation could lead to disaster. Indeed, Russia’s heavy casualties on the battlefield in the Ukrainian counteroffensive have prompted the Kremlin to increasingly call for negotiations. Ukraine is ready for dialogue and ready for peace — but a priori, not on the Kremlin’s conditions. Only the unconditional liberation of all territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia and the withdrawal of Russian troops can lay the ground for a constructive dialogue. But at the moment, the Kremlin’s arguments do not inspire confidence – all signs points not to a peace, but a truce before a larger and bloodier war with NATO’s embroilment.
Russia suffered heavy losses on the battlefield and was forced to leave approximately 50 % of the territory that was occupied in Ukraine after February 2,2022. Accordingly, the Kremlin is increasingly calling for negotiations, both officially and through its protégés, Lukashenko and Orban. Even a superficial analysis of the events in Russia confirms the opposite — Putin is preparing for a long war, which he dreams of carrying into Europe. The Russian economy is being transferred to a military needs, pressure against dissent is intensifying, and persons undesirable to the Putin’s regime are being eliminated. Russian military correspondents and propagandists talk about the revival of the imperial status of Russia, the “reconquest” and the return of “territories once lost by Russia.” The threat of a Russian invasion of neighboring EU countries is becoming much more real. Accordingly, the West must do everything necessary for Ukraine to defeat Russia, expelling it from the occupied territories with shame.
Putin respects strength. Peace in Ukraine can come only if it wins over the Russian Federation. No one should have any illusions about the so-called peaceful intentions of Russia, which is rapidly recreating the worst version of the Stalinist era. Despite the fact that the Kremlin is a “colossus with feet of clay”, its imperial ambitions and hatred of the West create the prerequisites for a direct war between the Russian Federation and NATO. Supplying all the necessary weapons to Ukraine is the only way to prevent this war — Putin will demonstrate a real, not a fake, readiness for peace only in case of unacceptable losses in his army.