Russia and Ukraine held high-level talks today and, in contrast to all other such meetings, which have been many in only 18 days of war, both sides indicated they made progress. Under several false pretenses, on February 24th Russian troops amassed on the the mutual invaded and attacked the unprovoked, innocent, democratic “nation,” which Putin denies. The result has been that 2.5 million Ukrainians, almost all being women and children, have fled to neighboring countries to escape the path of war, while the Ukraine government announced that all men ages 18 to 60 must assist the nation’s war with Russia.
Russians forces appear poised to surround major cities in Ukraine in preparation for siege. It appears that thousands of troops on both sides, but more so for the Russians, have been killed. The West has been supplying Ukraine with much weaponry. But the European Union and NATO, led by the U.S., have so far refused Ukraine’s request to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Since Putin twice mentioned Russia’s nuclear weapons since the war began, the West fears that creating a no-fly zone could result in a much larger war that could become World War III with nuclear weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated this war with Ukraine because the despot has designs for Russia’s expansion westward to recreate a Russian Empire of antiquity, thus not only the former Soviet Union. He has falsely claimed that Ukraine is Nazi and that it is developing nuclear and biological weapons.
A Russian spokesman had said last week that Russia would end the war “in a moment” if Ukraine would accept its demands. One is that Ukraine will never accept membership into NATO. Another is that Ukraine would recognize Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia took in armed conflict in 2014. Ukraine leadership has said it would not agree to either of these demands.
Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine negotiator and advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, emerged from the talks today to say, “We will not concede in principle on any positions. Russia now understands this. Russia is already beginning to talk constructively. I think we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days.”
Leonid Slutsky, a Russian delegate in today’s talks, said of them, “This progress may grow in the coming days into a joint position of both delegations, into documents for signing.” He continued, “Our demands are the end of the war and the withdrawal of [Russian] troops. I see the understanding and there is a dialogue.”
Neither side provided any specifics about their discussion today.
It is questionable if Russia is even winning this war so far, even though Ukraine is far outnumbered in troops. But it seems all military analysts in the West surmise that Putin way underestimated the strength of the Ukrainian people to resist Russia taking over Ukraine, and Russian forces have been surprisingly inept in their advance. Furthermore, it seems Putin thought Russian forces would overwhelm Ukrainian forces and attain victory in a few days. Moreover, the West has surprised everyone in forming a solidarity to support Ukraine mostly by supplying weapons and imposing economic sanctions on Russia from which the nation may take decades to recover.
These developments appear to raise the possibility that Putin now has changed his mind and is looking for a way out of the blunder of his in attacking Ukraine and scaring the world about talk of using nuclear weapons.