But a full withdrawal from Kyiv would allow the Ukrainians to strengthen the Donbass region and give them a significant victory, suggested Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at CNA, a defense research facility in Virginia. in a tweet.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
Ongoing peace talks. During Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Istanbul, Russia vowed it would “reduce” military activity near Kyiv, and Ukraine agreed to declare permanently neutral. Even so, weeks of further negotiations could be needed to reach an agreement, and Russia appears determined to seize more territory in eastern Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, who was traveling in Morocco, also cast doubt on Russia’s promise to reduce hostilities. “There is what Russia says and there is what Russia does,” he said on Tuesday. “We focus on the latter. And what Russia is doing is the continued brutalization of Ukraine and her people, and it is continuing as we speak.”
Russia did not stop fighting after annexing Crimea in 2014 but actively supported the separatists in Donbass, said Ian Bond, a former British diplomat in Russia and foreign policy director at the Center for European Reforms. “I am skeptical that the Russians will give up the war,” he said. “We already saw this film in 2014 and 2015. I just see it as a break.”
Ian Garner, a historian of Russian propaganda, pointed out on Twitter that “Putin’s Russia – indeed post-Soviet Russia – has been embroiled in dirty, endless conflicts for years,” citing Transnistria in Moldova, Abkhazia in Georgia, and the Donbass, all areas in other countries where Russian forces support separatist movements. “Maybe not finished,” he said, but “at the break.”
Ukraine’s senior negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, suggested after Tuesday’s talks that both sides were talking seriously about neutrality for Ukraine, a treaty that would guarantee its security through NATO member nations including the United States, Britain, Turkey, France and Germany guaranteed a ceasefire -fire and humanitarian corridors.
Ukrainian and Western officials also hinted that Russia would be ready for a demilitarized Ukraine to join the European Union as long as it refrains from joining NATO or taking on foreign forces.