How could the Russia-Ukraine war end without turning into World War III? [duplicate]

The Politicus
Mar 26, 2022 01:38 PM 0 Answers
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New York Times

March 23, 2022

As Ukrainian forces continued to hold off Russian advances on Kyiv,
President Biden traveled to Brussels on Wednesday for an emergency
meeting with other NATO leaders to discuss how to respond to Russia’s
assault and help the over 3 million Ukrainians who have fled the

David Leonhardt explained, both sides have conditions that are likely
to remain non-negotiable. Ukraine, for its part, would probably refuse
any deal that deprives it of control over Kyiv, while Russia would
probably refuse any deal that leaves the door to NATO membership open
to Ukraine.

In the view of retired Adm. James G. Stavridis, a former supreme
allied commander for Europe, the most probable outcome is a partition
of Ukraine. “Putin would take the southeast of the country, and the
ethnic Russians would gravitate there,” he told The Times. “The rest
of the nation, overwhelmingly Ukrainian, would continue as a sovereign

How likely is a peace deal? As of now, Western officials say, not
very. While Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has signaled an
openness to relinquish his country’s aspirations to NATO membership,
Russia’s assault continues.

But the conditions of the war are quickly changing, and some are
cautiously hopeful about the potential for diplomacy. As Emma Ashford,
a senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the
Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security told my colleague Ezra Klein, Russia’s military underperformance seems to have prompted
Russia to moderate its demands: officials are now talking less about
regime change and demilitarization and more about Ukrainian neutrality
and potential territorial gains.

“It does seem to me that we have seen some movement from even the
Russians over the last few weeks,” she said. “And I don’t think we’re
quite there yet, but give it another couple of weeks, and that might
be the point where we have an opening for negotiations.”

The underperformance of the Russian military campaign could push Putin
toward diplomacy. But for the moment, it seems more likely to push him
toward escalation: In recent days, as its military offensive has
stalled, Russia has intensified its bombing of civilian areas in a bid
to pressure Kyiv.

This, the Times columnist Thomas Friedman said, is Russia’s plan B:
“Putin, I suspect, is thinking that if he cannot occupy and hold all
of Ukraine by military means and simply impose his peace terms, the
next best thing would be to drive 5 or 10 million Ukrainian refugees,
particularly women, children and the elderly, into Poland, Hungary,
and Western Europe — with the purpose of creating such intense social
and economic burdens that these NATO states will eventually pressure
Zelensky to agree to whatever terms Putin is demanding to stop the

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