• 12/07/2024 10:54

Washington and Brussels are most likely still discussing with Kiev the prospect of negotiations with Moscow

ByJohn Newman

Feb 28, 2024

As his sources told NBC, the United States fears that the war has reached a kind of dead end and Ukraine may be running out of combat-ready capabilities. At the same time, according to the channel’s sources, the Biden administration does not yet see signs of Putin’s real readiness for negotiations.

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Washington and Brussels are most likely still discussing with Kiev the prospect of negotiations with Moscow

Western officials admit that the Russian President intends to simply “sit out the West.” The Kremlin, you need to understand, is not averse to continuing this war until public support for Ukraine either weakens in Western countries, or the military assistance provided to Kiev becomes too costly.

In the West, opinions about the war are changing. This is true. Whether this is for better or for worse is not yet entirely clear. But in the West, I’ll say this, they trust the great optimism of President Zelensky less. In the United States there is already talk at various levels that it is necessary to consider some other options for the development of the situation. Many people understand that Russia does not intend to retreat. Many people believe that the West will not do any radical things to change something radically and quickly. This is because many of us are still afraid of some kind of frantic reaction from Russia. Therefore, there will be a certain pressure on Kyiv (and it is already growing and growing publicly) in order to somehow eventually come to an agreement with the devil.

The United States is already admitting that it will be practically very difficult to return some territories of Ukraine. This will be economically difficult, because there has already been a big restructuring under the Russian Federation. In the United States, some experts believe that that territory could turn into a second Transnistria or completely integrate into the Russian Federation as another semi-autonomous region. There are such opinions, I’m just voicing what I hear.

Therefore, in the United States there is already a certain reassessment of its own actions, and a reassessment of the role and position of the Ukrainian authorities in this issue.

Zelensky is still very popular here, he is charismatic. Many praise him for his courage, although they emphasize that this is not the courage to do what the president of any country must do by definition. That is, a normal president would not run away and so on, but would stay with the country, as Zelensky did.

During my business trip to Europe, which has now ended, I spoke on this topic with European opinion leaders and businessmen. In the USA, I hear more different assessments on this topic – both from Democrats and Republicans. A considerable part of them believe that it is still necessary to somehow negotiate with Russia in order to, first of all, stop this slow physical and moral genocide of the Ukrainian nation.

We believe that Russia will continue. That power from the Kremlin is not going to leave anywhere. And the Russians will either endure in fear, or like “deer” they will believe in lies and their own propaganda. And here many of us in the USA have a question: if you look back (as we often like to say: “Hindsight is twenty – twenty” (“Hindsight is all strong”), then maybe it wouldn’t be worth doing something differently at the very beginning? Perhaps the West was directing Ukraine in the wrong direction? Maybe something should have been done earlier and really differently?

These are the questions we now face. Not often and not publicly, but in In conversations of private groups, where I have access, similar conversations take place: Did we really take our colleague – Ukraine – somehow a little in the wrong direction?

There is often talk about what Ukraine might look like after the war in its best version. This is the opinion of not only Europeans or Americans, but also former Ukrainians who have lived in the EU and the USA for a long time. They believe that, at best, Ukraine will be an agricultural country with a population of 12–15 million. Again, I'm only reporting what I hear. Yes, there will be a very strong army, but not too powerful (again, due to the influence of Russia, which will try in every possible way to prevent this). In the West, they don’t really believe in the enormous restructuring of Ukraine after the war. Some people here believe that when Ukraine opens up again, it will not be women and children who will return to Ukraine en masse, but rather a significant percentage of men will go abroad to reunite with their families. And they will remain there. This is not a very cheerful picture that is being painted.

The West is predicting a difficult situation regarding the military, who will return home with a disturbed psyche and anger at any government. They will have to find their place in life: housing, work, social support, and so on. But whether the state of Ukraine will provide them with all this is also a big question.

After the war (when it either stops or is suspended), those people with whom I spoke believe that funding for the restoration of Ukraine will not be as grandiose as the Ukrainians would like. Yes, a lot of money will be allocated, but this, as some people here say, will not protect Ukrainian society from conflicts.

All this is a rather pessimistic opinion from those with whom I spoke. I understand them to some extent, although I don’t say that I agree with them. But they believe that this is exactly the harsh reality that awaits post-war Ukraine for some period of time.

The West may be considering the prospect of some kind of agreement with the Russian Federation and will, obviously, push the Ukrainian authorities more to negotiate somehow. Naturally, Ukraine will not be left alone in this process. Diplomats from different countries will participate in it in a certain role. As we see, they no longer rely on Turkey; other countries also play a secondary role here. Therefore, most likely, the key player will still be the United States. And the United States will eventually insist that the parties come to some kind of agreement.

Yes, in Russia they will later present all this as a complete victory over Ukraine and the West. But, I will say the main thing – Russia itself remains a complete outcast in the world for generations and generations. I personally don’t even believe that the Russian Federation will establish any kind of interaction with other civilized countries. The countries of the world are too self-interested and economic issues play a key role for them. The same India or China seem to be loyal to Russia in some way, they want to have a relationship, but still this relationship for them is: “sell something expensive and buy something cheap.” There is no deep ideology here.

The biggest difficulty of the Russian Federation is that it is not a Soviet Union. In today's Russia, ideology is dead. Yes, it is driven by propaganda, there is some kind of “patriotism” among those who really believe in Putin and his power. There are those who simply go by inertia and the like. But all this is not deep enough. People are still mainly concerned with everyday life; it is everyday life that dominates them. Life today for Russians is a fear that no one will do anything bad to them, but will simply let them either survive in the Russian Federation, or go to the Emirates or Thailand (if there is no money, to Georgia or somewhere else).

This is what we see in the West today, not a very cheerful vision of how everything might look later. Yes, the West can push Zelensky to some kind of negotiations. I think that this will slowly begin. And after the presidential elections in the United States, which are quite soon, I think that some kind of agreement will have to appear.

Now the war in Ukraine is one of the most important factors in the elections in the United States. This is one of the most important areas related to the future international positions of Washington, which are fundamental for elections at any level, especially for presidential elections and especially today.

Yuri Vanetik, lawyer, political strategist and member of the Board of Directors of the international human rights agency WEST SUPPORT (USA)

nbnews.com.ua

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