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With the exception of March when Ukraine wasn't so sure it could fend off what seemed like a relentless Russian advance and was thus willing to make quite a few concessions, its position regarding the outcome of the war has become more and more what you would deem as 'aggressive'. Without even going into how detrimental this war has been to the World itself, the current successes did come at a terrible cost for Ukraine, and moreover, it is far from clear that it will continue to maintain the momentum in face of continued and renewed Russian resolve (which of course might turn out to be a bubble close to bursting).

Just to summarize the latest stance of Kyiv as of 04.10.2022:

  • Ukraine's ambassador in Germany answer to Elon Musk floating around what you would consider a neutral peace agreement (which has also been suggested by FP veterans such as Chomsky): "Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you".
  • A Ukrainian presidential advisor pushed back asserting again that Ukraine should not only liberate all its territories, including Crimea but also de-militarize Russia (although the latter is probably just meant as a demagogy stunt).
  • Zelenskyy himself answered with a mock poll in what could be interpreted as ad hominem argument, which is surely what not you'd expect from a responsible leader. A similar response was recorded by the foreign minister.
  • The Ukrainian leadership seems to be so impudent (if I may) that they immediately bash what would be considered a major private donator to their war effort (reportedly Musk donated about 80M in Starlink and other devices.) As a note, this impudence has also been observed with regard to countries as has been the case with Germany or Hungary.

Needless to say, the comments on Twitter might be somewhat exaggerated but this is pretty much the official stance of Kyiv.

We of course also know that Russia has been willing to go to the negotiation table for some time now. During the summer Peskov remarked more than once that the Ukrainian side had not really answered their negotiation proposals, Putin himself commented that peace would be more difficult later, with the Ukrainian side remarking that they were looking for a stronger negotiating position. Perhaps this is why Turkey's efforts have also stalled here.

So, does the Ukrainian side really believe the far-fetched dream that they will go as far as to re-take Crimea? Are they really motivated by Russian crimes and atrocities (which has universally been a secondary consideration among the leadership of a country and is mostly used for other purposes)?

Or must they absolutely appear unrelenting and inexorable in their positions simply because Russia is doing the same but also and most crucially, to ensure a better-negotiating ground in the future? The unwavering Western backing is surely making this possible.

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  • 7
    One could disagree with many assertions made in the body of the question - I suggest supporting them by links with the relevant sources. Apart from that: Russia and Ukraine have never agreed on the terms of a possible truce (let alone a peace agreement). Oct 4, 2022 at 9:09
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    I feel like this comes under "internal motivations". We can't tell you what Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian government is thinking, because we can't read minds and we don't deal in speculation. We can only give the reasons that Zelenskyy has publicly stated.
    – F1Krazy
    Oct 4, 2022 at 9:10
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    -1 for describing Musks pro-Russian proposal a "neutral peace agreement". 'we stop invading you if you give us some of the land we invaded' is not a neutral agreement.
    – tim
    Oct 4, 2022 at 11:21
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    @RogerVadim It is not a matter of feelings that Musk's proposal would improve Russia's situation relative to the status quo before the invasion. To call that "neutral" is both wrong and pushing a narrative (which is explicitly against the rules and can be met with a downvote, vote to close and a comment explaining the issue).
    – xyldke
    Oct 4, 2022 at 14:31
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    @RogerVadim By writing their comment, tim has asked the author to change that wording. After downvoting for a valid reason, they left a comment that explained the reason for the downvote.
    – xyldke
    Oct 4, 2022 at 14:56

3 Answers 3

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It is utterly absurd to present "withdrawal/removal of all enemy soldiers from the attacked nations territory" as a hardline stance when one nation invades another. Instead, that seems the default war goal any defending nation would have.

Comparisons to WW2 have been rife, and that's where we can see a genuine hardline stance from the Allies: "Unconditional surrender or bust".

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  • There exist on the other hand many people who consider a "Territory for peace" type outcome reasonable, e.g. for saving life of young people sent to frontlines. I personally know some Ukrainian citizens who share this viewpoint. Oct 4, 2022 at 10:06
  • @AdamGyenge: yeah, but most Russian's aren't packed in an area of the size of Gaza. And that proposed deal would have the side which has recently taken more land (i.e. the Israelis) give [some of] it up, so if you want to be strict with the analogy, Russia should be giving up some of their recent conquests. Oct 4, 2022 at 14:44
  • @AdamGyenge Which country do you live in? Which part of that country would you donate to Russia in exchange for peace? If it's such a good idea, why not offer the part you are currently living in? How would the people living in that part of the country feel about it? Remember they wouldn't be able to escape, since Russia wants the people and capital and not just the empty land. Oct 11, 2022 at 13:15
  • @user253751 I live in Hungary. In our history, we have given up lands to our neighbours to get peace (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Trianon). Right now we are not neighbouring Russia, so we cannot give lands to them. Ukraine can. Of course, the Hungarians, especially those living in the territories that Hungary gave up then feel very sad. But they live in peace. When wars end, there are always people who remain sad. But they are usually also happy that they survived the war. Oct 11, 2022 at 18:13
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    @AdamGyenge do you understand the word "if"? Oct 12, 2022 at 9:34
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I think your last paragraph is quite correct. Let's summarize the positions of the main parties.

Leadership of Ukraine: It seems that the western weapons have indeed turned the tide, at least for the moment. There is no need to change the strategy as long as they can persuade the west to continue with the support and the people to fight.

People of Ukraine: Their politicians and also the recent successes send the message that they are winning this war. This, and their rightful anger against Russians, who they consider as a barbarian invading nation, can be convincing enough to bear the big losses.

US leadership: This is finally a war where they do not need to send Johnny from the Mid-West to the front line, but they can still destroy Russian equipment by sending weapons, money, intelligence info, etc. As it seems, they consider this excellent value for money.

European leadership: This becomes more tricky. They share many views of US leadership, but they also get economic stagnation or even recession in their countries. It depends on individual circumstances country by country how long they can or wish to continue the support. But even if some bigger countries (France/Germany) decrease it, they definitely cannot stop the US (and the highly pro-Ukraine and anti-Russian UK, Polish and Baltic leadership) to continue with it.

So to sum it up, right now I do not see any intention in any of the main parties (except for Russia) to convince Ukraine to suspend the fight. The closest to this might be some European governments, e.g. France.

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  • Well, it's in Russia's immediate interest to get some kind of pause while they send in the recently mobilized reserves. The Kremlin insofar hasn't been too clear if they still plan to liberate the whole of newly annexed (4) oblasts, which they do not control in their entirety. Remember how the 2022 invasion started? Russia claimed the right to liberate the whole of LPR and DPR, which asked for help with that, even though they controlled less than 1/3 of the territories they claimed. Oct 7, 2022 at 1:13
  • @Fizz which is why nobody will accept a pause. Russia would have to give something up to get peace. Oct 11, 2022 at 13:17
3

Simple, Ukraine is clearly winning on the battlefield now so why should they suddenly surrender the own territory to Russia. Makes little sense. You can read the tweets and commentary in The Guardian). I understand they irony but was indeed quite sharp.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), opined that a radically or ethnically distinct group within a state, even if it qualifies as a people for the purposes of self-determination, does not have the right to unilateral self-determination simply because it wishes to create its own separate state (source). They do not have right to these referendums. If this is just an opinion, then I share it.

From the overview of this history as published in Meduza, looks like the Musk's pool for new referendums is not getting majority, while Medvedev replied "We expect next post recognizing that Ukraine is artificial state".

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  • 3
    The problem is not that regions should not have the right to become independent or join another country. Or at least, that is not the issue from my perspective, although the Ukrainian government probably sees it that way. The issue is that the referenda are being held under very coercive conditions, most notably military occupation, so there is no reason to trust in the outcome. That makes them illegitimate. If Russia had not invaded and they had held a Cataluña-style independence referendum, that would have been much more valid.
    – Obie 2.0
    Oct 4, 2022 at 14:57
  • @Obie2.0 Musk did write he meant referendums monitored by UN or some other international body.
    – michau
    Oct 4, 2022 at 15:46
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    So a referendum carried out by the pro-Russian government of the breakaway regions, while those regions continue to be under Russian occupation? Ha. All UN monitoring would do would be to confirm the coerciveness of the process.
    – Obie 2.0
    Oct 4, 2022 at 15:57
  • I'm not sure where they've rejected a referendum altogether. I do recall some Ukrainians [in that Tweeter thread] bringing up Ukraine's independence referendum from 1991 (IIRC) where even Crimea voted for that (albeit by scarcely over 50%). Oct 4, 2022 at 21:48
  • I don't know to whom you are responding, or what the relevance is to the Russo-Ukrainian war, but the difference is actually very arbitrary. For instance, Vatican City is a UN observer state, but Mecca is not. Monaco is even a UN member state, despite being smaller than any US state (which are regional divisions). Going back to ex-Soviet republics, Ukraine and Belarus had UN seats even before the fall of the USSR, but Uzbekistan did not. What is considered a country versus a regional division of that country tends to be heavily dependent on historical happenstance.
    – Obie 2.0
    Oct 5, 2022 at 9:31

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