Espreso. Global
OPINION

Russia must be disarmed and nuclear-free

16 June, 2024 Sunday
17:30

On the eve of the peace summit in Switzerland, Putin outlined his "peace initiatives," echoing his previous demands for Ukraine to surrender to Moscow

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The demand for Ukrainian troops to withdraw from the four occupied regions appears particularly audacious. This demand is reminiscent of Putin's past demands, such as Ukraine never joining NATO and the withdrawal of military infrastructure and forces from Eastern European countries that joined the Alliance after 1997.

According to Putin, if Ukraine surrenders, a ceasefire will follow. Then, he mentioned other traditional demands, such as Ukraine's neutral status, renunciation of NATO membership, and recognizing the Russian language. Essentially, there is nothing new in these demands, but the categorical and intimidating tone in which they were announced was intended to scare Ukrainians and the West. The Kremlin's chief publicly declared that if his demands are ignored, Russia is ready to go a battering ram.

Russia desperately needs a ceasefire because Putin never planned for such a prolonged conflict. According to the Kremlin's plan, they were supposed to capture the Ukrainian capital within three days, and control the entire country in a few weeks at most. However, Russian military logistics collapsed, and the Ukrainian military's response to the invaders was much stronger than Moscow expected.

Putin's absurd statements are due to the fact that Russia is running out of money for the war. Sales of energy to China and India can't make up for losing the European market Russia heavily relied on. Russia has invaded Ukraine twice in eight years, making negotiations for peace under old terms impractical. Ukrainians, more than anyone else, understand the value of peace, but they need real peace rather than a temporary truce with the aggressor.

Putin tries to appear strong with nuclear threats but fears a potential summer or fall offensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, especially as Ukraine receives increased support from NATO members and allies. Ukraine is ready for a ceasefire if Russia withdraws its troops from all occupied territories, including Ukrainian Crimea. However, Moscow is not yet ready to consider this scenario.

Soon, Russia will no longer be able to use the naval base in Crimea. Despite significant losses to its Black Sea Fleet, Putin intends to continue pouring trillions of rubles into a war he cannot win. The smell of losing the war is already in the air in Russia, but its population is unable to shake off the effects of television zombification by Kremlin propagandists.

It raises questions: how would Putin react if Russia faced a foreign invasion, losing territory and being forced into a "peace" agreement demanding troop withdrawals and isolation from coalitions? For some reason he is offering this nonsense to others.

Therefore, the main factor behind this “peaceful” ultimatum is an attempt to create an information wave. He shows that he is allegedly looking for a way out of the situation he created, but does not want to lose face.  

Putin also needs such “peaceful” maneuvers because he lacks the military resources to seize and hold additional Ukrainian land. As Ukraine strikes back, targeting areas inside Russia, internal pressure on Putin is increasing. Therefore, he prioritizes maintaining power over agreeing to any real peace agreement.

His statements can be interpreted as: “Give me back what I have already stolen, and I will not steal anymore.” This aggressor, who seizes others' lands, believes he is allowed to do whatever he wants, and the international community should calmly watch his limitless geopolitical ambitions. 

What about the people who have been forced to live for years under Moscow's occupation in Ukrainian territories? Did anyone ask them if they want to continue to put up with the illegal occupation of some Ukrainian regions? 

Putin's actions are just political posturing. Why make an offer that you know in advance will never be accepted? Essentially, he is testing the West's determination. By offering conditions that he knows are unreasonable, he is testing whether anyone will pressure Ukraine to accept the deal on Russian terms.

It is important to note that Moscow's “peaceful” statements coincide with significant losses of Russian troops and equipment. The replacement of destroyed tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment requires trillions of rubles. Losses in the occupation army have exceeded half a million people.

The dictator has exhausted his best forces and is now sending poorly trained officers and soldiers to the front, as well as tanks that are decades old. He calls for a ceasefire because he knows that Russia is close to bankruptcy and losing the war. Putin has jeopardized Russia's future by instilling his personal animosity toward Ukraine, leading to a reckless invasion of its territory.

Over the past month, a large number of Russian soldiers have surrendered, and as Ukraine starts using new Western weapons, this trend is expected to grow. Ukrainians are determined to fight until the last Russian soldier leaves Ukraine. The imperialist, murderer, and political extremist in the Kremlin will soon struggle to maintain control over vast territories of the Russia. It's only a matter of time before powerful forces of disintegration tear apart the Russian Empire.

Putin has made a mistake, and the collapse of the Russia will be much worse than the collapse of the Soviet Union. This time, it's unlikely the West will extend a helping hand, as Russia's true nature has been revealed over the past 25 years, eroding trust.

If Russia, or whatever remains of it, seeks Western aid, it must first give up its nuclear weapons and status as a nuclear power. Additionally, its military should be reduced to 80,000 personnel, with no more than 100 tanks, 30 aircraft, and 10 naval ships. Russian forces must also stay at least 500 kilometers away from neighboring borders. A commission on Russia's demilitarization, including US and EU representatives, would oversee these conditions.

Putin's ambition to revive the USSR and dominate Eastern Europe has backfired, exposing him as the instigator of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Despite Russia's weakened state, Putin's pride prevents him from backing down. The West must carefully consider its next steps, as the threat to global order from Russia remains significant despite its diminished capabilities.

Source

About the author. Viktor Kaspruk, journalist.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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