Beat Russia or seek peace in Ukraine | International

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One year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the idea that this fierce and absurd war is going to continue indefinitely is reinforced. Russian aggression is leaving a great European country in ruins and has already produced tens of thousands of deaths, perhaps hundreds of thousands, and millions of displaced people.

Russia destroys the Ukraine of today and also of the future, attacks the civilian population and the basic infrastructure and its soldiers torture, steal, plunder cultural heritage and facilitate the deportation of children to be adopted and indoctrinated in Russia.

The determination of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to continue advancing, whatever the cost, regardless of lives - those of the Ukrainians and those of his own mobilized fellow citizens - is opposed by the courage of President Volodimir Zelensky and the Ukrainian people. to resist with the help of weapons provided by the West. Neither one side nor the other has the strength to win a victoryif today there is something that can be described as such.

The NATO states discover with alarm that their arsenals are not enough to sustain the rate at which they are spent in Ukraine and Russia notes that part of its weapons are obsolete and has asked for help from countries like Iran, with which it is organizing the manufacture drone joint. Both are increasing or preparing to increase the capacity of their war industry.

The front line fluctuates. Russia has had to retreat in territories that it had already occupied and Ukraine defends inch by inch the land that it controls in Donbas. This is a marathon war and not a lightning race, as Putin assumed when he launched into the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of a country whose existence he denies.

Russia continues to try to annihilate Ukraine as an independent subject; Ukraine wants to kick out the invader and regain the territorial integrity that Russia recognized until it annexed Crimea in 2014.

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In Ukraine, the West tries not to cross red lines that could lead to Russia's use of a nuclear weapon. This danger has never ceased to exist, although it is not possible to determine the correlation between events on the battlefield and the chances that Vladimir Putin will push the button. Presumably, as long as Russia has conventional weapons and human resources, Putin will not resort to last resort. Some believe that the Russian leader will not be able to resort to a nuclear weapon and others, based on statements by the president himself, see him willing to immolate his own and others in order not to give up. Based on these impressions, some accept the risk and others do not. Uncertainty causes anxiety for everyone.

The optimism that followed the Ukrainian offensive last fall was contagious, but hasty. Western sanctions tighten but do not stifle Russia, which in a global world finds ways to circumvent them; Putin relies for the moment on a convinced, submissive, confused or frightened population, which supports or resigns itself to the war. Between half a million and a million and a half Russians (according to the data) have gone abroad fleeing the mobilization and those who stay and speak out against the conflict can be punished with higher sentences than those carried out by perverse murderers, as discovered by the activist Iliá Yashin in the prisons where they locked him up after sentencing him to eight and a half years for his political position.

Russia seems to have embarked on a journey through time towards an inquisitorial world. The repression of the regime is severe and the fear of its officials has reached absurd extremes, such as avoiding writing the word "peace" in the New Year greetings.

Avoid escalation and nuclear attack

On the evolution of the war, several currents of thought are observed. Ukraine, say some, should be supported for as long as it deems necessary to "beat" Russia and expel it from its territory. Ukraine, say others, must accept loss of territory in exchange for peace. This last option is presented today with analogies such as the division of Korea or Germany, but Russia wants more than what it already occupies and has inscribed in its Constitution Ukrainian territories that it does not even control.

An analysis by the US Rand Corporation of US interests in the war in Ukraine (Avoiding a Long War. US Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict) states that "for the United States, territorial control (...) is not the most important dimension of the future of war." "For the United States, avoiding a long war is a higher priority than facilitating significantly more territorial control to Ukraine," says the document, according to which the US priorities are "avoiding a possible escalation" and that it becomes a Russia-Russian war. NATO, and avoid the "use [del arma] nuclear by Russia.

with the title stand up, the Russian Grigori Yavlinski, leader of the Yábloko party, has published an article in which he affirms that "the conflict cannot be ended on the battlefield, as some dream". “Putin's state will stop at nothing. Russia will not be left without strength" as a result of this war and "will remain one of the two great atomic powers in the world." Instead, Ukraine is in danger of "not being able to overcome the economic consequences" of the conflict, says Yavlinski, who proposes a ceasefire as a "political demand to preserve lives", which, according to him, does not even mean a peace agreement. neither peace nor full-scale dialogue. It would be, he writes, a "first step towards any regulatory principle": "Trying this option is only possible if Putin, Zelensky, Biden, the EU leadership and NATO want it." Yabloko is the only legal party in Russia that is openly against the war. It is not represented in the Russian State Duma, but has deputies in several regional and municipal parliaments. A hundred of its militants are in prison or have been prosecuted and fined for their political positions, says a party spokesman.

Attempting a ceasefire in Ukraine would require some intermediation structure made up of people or countries not involved in the war or the sanctions. In this sense, the initiative of the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to form a group of States that can mediate, may be interesting. Brazil, together with Russia, is a member of the BRICS group of countries, to which India, China and South Africa also belong. Behind the scenes, diplomatic trial and error are already taking place between various subjects. Alberto Fernández, the president of Argentina, follows Lula's line and both refuse to sell arms to Ukraine.

A Russian intellectual who does not want to see his name published tries to explain the problems of mediation with an analogy. “What to do if an armed terrorist attacks a bank, takes hostages and threatens them with a gun? Confront the criminal endangering the lives of his captives or take coordinated action with specially trained police officers, psychologists and people trusted by the offender, among others, who patiently calm him down and convince him that his wishes will be fulfilled if he stops aim at the hostages and hand over the weapon? Only if he stops aiming will another story be possible.

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