Monday, July 03, 2023

There Is Only One Way Ukraine Can End The War


As Ukraine's much hyped counterattack has failed to achieved the and momentum that hoped for by American and NATO leaders  including President Volodymyr Zelensky who admitted it was "slower than desired", and a range of soldiers interviewed by BBC and Sky News television reporters t on different parts of the  long (probably too long given the depletion of Ukrainian military manpower,) frontline have blamed minefields laid by Russian troops for that delay. Well as is often said, in any wartruth is the first casualty.

"Of course, it slows down the movement of troops," said the commander of a nine-man sapper squad with the call sign Dill. He'd just finished a de-mining mission on the nearby frontlines to the east of the tiny, ruined village of Predtechyne, outside Bakhmut. He laid out an array of deactivated Russian mines on the ground beneath a tree, taking care to make sure he could not be spotted by Russian drones overhead.

"The enemy has no mercy for their own soldiers. They're used as cannon fodder. But we're trying to move forwards with the minimum of casualties," said the Lieutenant Serhii Tyshenko from the 3rd Assault Brigade, speaking from the shelter of a nearby bunker.

 The only way the war can now end in anything but total and crushing defeat for Ukraine is if the regime in Kiev surrender. Given the vague and often contradictory nature of reports on conditions inside Ukraine it is impossible to guess how close the Ukrainians are to that, or even if they are close to it at all.

It is likely then the war will go on inside Ukrain, with NATO supplying weapons and humanitarian aid but unwilling to engage in direct, armed conflict with Russia.  The stated goals of the West and those of Russia are so totally opposite, with the west hoping to cause the ousting of Putin and thus achieve regime change in Moscow, weakening Russia in the process while Russia wants to secure its southern border and prevent Ukraine becom, ing part of NATO which would enable the Americans to open military bases and site long range weapons close to Russia's border, that it's difficult to see how there can be any negotiated settlement.

Even more so now that the war aims of Russia seem to have extended. At first they were after little more than a modified implementation of Minsk 2. But the blunt Russian statement of aims at the very beginning showed that there was more to it than that. "Demilitarisation and denazification" could scarcely have been done only with a Minsk 2 type arrangement. Even the later peace proposals did not go that far. 

It all seemed so straightforward in April 2022 when both side were prepared to discuss a settlement brokered by Turkey's President Erdogan, before UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dispatched by Washington to Kiev to tell the Ukrainian regime that they were not to enter peace talks with Moscow without permission from Washington.

But the main point is that any settlement of this conflict that might have been on the table dealt only with a possible settlement in Ukraine. However, the Russians appear to have recently extended their demands by linking the conditions for a settlement to their European security demands made in 2021, perhapd because of the west furnishing Ukraine with the means to attack targets within Russia..

A settlement between the NATO powers and Russia that involved only Ukraine could have been achieved. Something might have been cooked up and slathered in enough of the sauce of convoluted diplomatic language to save face for the Western politicians and met Russia's demands. It is hard to imagine how, but the diplomats and PR men are highly skilled at bending words so the necessary exit route might have been found for both sides.

But any settlement that leads to the West budging on those European security demands would mean the withdrawal of American missile bases close to Russia's borders in former Soviet republics such as Estonia and Lithuania, and also relocating concentrations of NATO troops further away from the Russian border. There is no way that could be done without a loss of face for the Western politicians that no diplomatic obfuscation could conceal.

So if the Russians are serious about linking any settlement to those 2021 demands there will be no settlement arrived at. Such intransigence on both sides can only mean this conflict will be decided on the battlefield and not at thenegotiating table. There can be no armistice until one side or the other collapses into dystopian, failed - state chaos. The conflict is now "existential" for both NATO and Russia and one side or the other has to lose.

It's been pretty obvious to me since February 2022 which side will be defeated. The military and economic reality is that Ukraine cannot win unless no matter how much help they get from the liberal democracies of the west unless and until NATO commits to sending in ground forces rather than just suppying weapons for the Russians to destroy. And NATO is unlikely to do that because it would make nuclear engagement not just possible but inevitable.

On top of that the west has its own problems, we have seen France crash and burn this week, the USA and UK are in societal breakdown and Germany is on the way to becoming an economic basket case while leaders of all three instead of dealing with domestic problems obsess over 'woke' idiocies like 'net zero', transgender rights, and imposing alien values and traditions on indiginous populations in order to make immigrants feel more welcome.

There are too many unknowns when it comes to Ukraine itself for and meaningful discussions of a settlement that would leave Ukraine mostly intact. We simply don't know how much more of the daily pounding the Ukrainians themselves will be prepared to take or how many more soldiers must die or be incapacitated before the people turn on the government and say 'NO MORE'. We don't know how effective the ultra-nationalist indoctrination of the last few years has been. We don't know how strong a grip the Zelensky and his neo - Nazi bosses have on public opinion in Ukraine. We don't know, in spite of all the floods of speculation, whether there are any factions in that administration that might be in a position to force a change of direction from the current fight-to-the-last-man philosophy.

However, despite daily reports in western mainstream media trying to convince us the Ukrainian counter offensive is rapidly advancing towards Murmansk and Vladivostock, we know that the Ukrainians are taking horrendous losses and that from a rapidly diminishing population base.  Not only are military personnel dying, ordinary civilians are leaving in droves, mostly for Poland, Romania and other EU member states. All of this, such as it is, suffices to give us any firm basis to speculate when or if whether the Ukrainians themselves will call a halt. We do know that a country in extremis tends to fight on. In 1945, when it was obvious as could be that their war was lost. And the fact that we, correctly, now view their cause as wrong doesn't mean those German patriots didn't fight like heroes. 

This alone ought to be enough to prompt the United Nations to step in and deploy a peacekeeping force to avert a humanitarian disaster on a scale unprecedented since Word War 2.

Are there any Ukrainian sources that give an accurate picture of what opinion is in Ukraine itself?




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