Putin’s Remedy: A Fragmented, Toothless Ukraine Separated by a 100 Kilometer-Wide No-Man’s-Land, by Mike Whitney

The solution the Russians are going to impose on the Ukraine is far worse for them that what they could have had if negotiations hadn’t fallen through last March. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

“It seems probable that Russia will impose a solution. If, as expected, it becomes clear that the West can’t or won’t negotiate, it will behoove Russia to implement a maximalist solution. Or alternatively, Russia “bargains” by showing that it can create a dead zone in Western Ukraine as big as it likes. If Ukraine and its US minders don’t come to their senses, that dead zone will be awfully big.” Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

How does this end?

How does Russia create a “neutral” Ukraine that isn’t armed-to-the-teeth by Moscow’s enemies? How do they prevent Kiev from conducting joint-military drills with NATO or placing missile sites on Russia’s border? How do they stop the Ukrainian Army from shelling ethnic Russians in the east or training far-right paramilitaries to kill as many Russians as possible? How does Putin change Ukraine into a good neighbor that doesn’t pose a security threat and that doesn’t fuel anti-Russian hatred and bigotry? And, finally, how does one resolve the conflict peacefully if one side refuses to negotiate with the other? Check out this clip from an article at Mint News:

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday signed a decree formally announcing the “impossible” prospect of peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin…

“He (Putin) does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelensky said on Friday. (Mint News)

The fact that Zelensky will not negotiate with Putin does not mean there will be no settlement. It just means that Zelensky will have no voice in the outcome. As the more powerful country, it has always been within Russia’s ability to impose a settlement that achieves its basic national security objectives, and that is precisely what Putin will do. The settlement will not be ideal nor will it completely end the hostilities, but it will provide a layer of protection from Russia’s enemies which is the best that can be hoped for given the circumstances. Regrettably, the settlement will also terminate Ukraine’s existence as a viable, contiguous state. And– after Russia has finished its special military operation– Ukraine will face a dismal future as a deindustrialized wastelands that is entirely dependent on its allies in the west for its survival.

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