The Kyiv Independent reports on Monday, 14 March, that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy proposes meeting President Putin in Jerusalem. This is what Mr. Zelenskyy told foreign journalists on March 12. He had suggested to Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, to act as intermediary. See this https://kyivindependent.com/uncategorized/zelensky-proposes-meeting-putin-in-jerusalem/
At the time of this writing no date has been set for the Putin – Zelenskyy summit, nor has it been confirmed by Moscow.
However, RT of 13 March 2022, reports Moscow and Kiev seem to be moving closer to an agreement, according to Leonid Slutsky, a member of the Russian negotiation team. He believes there has been “significant progress” in talks between Kiev and Moscow. It may soon lead the two sides in the conflict to sign an agreement.
Speaking to RT Arabic on Sunday, Slutsky – who also chairs the State Duma’s Committee on International Affairs – said, “If we compare the positions of both delegations at the talks, at the very beginning and today, we see significant progress.” Confirming this statement, the chief Ukrainian negotiator said “Russia was seeing the situation “much more adequately” than before. See this https://www.rt.com/russia/551816-russia-ukraine-negotiations-progress/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Email .
Despite blaming Russian shelling for preventing the safe passage of people – an accusation Russia vehemently denies – Ukraine has nonetheless apparently witnessed some progress in the negotiations, too.
Russian presidential aide, Mikhail Podolyak, said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant that the two sides were approaching a compromise. He believes that the Russian side was “already seeing things much more adequately,” but noted that it would likely be some time before it “fully, 100%, understands the situation it has got into.”
Although these are the first positive signs of a possible de-escalation of the war in Ukraine and that a peaceful solution may be in reachable sight, early optimism, while more than welcome, ought to be dealt with cautiously.
Ukraine is unfortunately not alone in this conflict – and in the decision-making process. It is like a proxy-war between the United States and Russia carried out on the grounds of Ukraine.
As the world is watching, the western US-led empire is gradually becoming weaker and showing increasing signs of an imminent collapse. May the hope of a peaceful solution come through.
However, a falling empire may act like a dying beast, lashing out and around itself to bring down as many victims as possible – i.e., countries and societies in its reach. It may therefore be too soon to predict a peaceful outcome.
Yet, a nuclear conflict is unlikely. Simply because with today’s nuclear technologies, an outcome is unpredictable. For example, since 28 of the 30 NATO bases are in Europe, it is very likely that the first Russian targets would be in Europe, potentially knocking out Europe for the third time in something over 100 years, by three World Wars that were not initiated in Europe – but frankly, for which Europe did not have the guts to say NO.
Backtracking in recent history, for the last almost eight years since the Minks accord of 5 September 2014, Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the agreement; and eventually of acknowledging the Russian recognition of the Donbas republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocol had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and, against all evidence to the contrary, has denied claims it was planning to retake the two Donbas republics by force.
Russian presidential advisor, Mr. Podolyak, sees any agreement between Kiev and Moscow as a “multi-component” accord. It should include provisions on the termination of the war, the terms and time schedule of the withdrawal of the Russian forces, the guaranteed terms of the peace agreement, and a detailed description of compensation mechanisms, he stressed, as recovery efforts would likely amount to “billions of dollars.”
Even if such an agreement would be reached to the satisfaction of both parties, Ukraine currently not being a sovereign country, but rather a nation under strict control of the US / EU and the NATO war-machine, an agreement reached between Russia and Ukraine may simply not be respected by Washington.
Let’s not forget, Washington’s overall goal, since long, is to conquer vast Russia and her resources. Russia’s landmass of 17.13 million km², by far the largest country in the world, is also rich in natural resources, the west covets. In addition of being the world’s second largest producer and exporter of petrol and natural gas, Russia is also a major producer of cobalt, chrome, copper, gold, lead, manganese, nickel, platinum, tungsten, vanadium, and zinc – all materials the west primarily needs for its electronics – and war–industries.
For the United States giving up on Russia, even with a Russian-Ukraine agreement which certainly would contain clauses to the effect that (i) No NATO ever in Ukraine, (ii) Ukraine to become a neutral country, and (iii) a denazification of Russia, and very possibly a request for NATO withdrawal to the geographic lines before 1997 – may not be evident.
Besides, the US war-machine needs to be fed, as it feeds the US economy, contributing significantly to the US GDP – close to 60%, counting all war-related production and services industries.
Therefore, while at the outset a nuclear WWIII Scenario may look unlikely, caution is in order. The western socioeconomic decline is perceived also in Europe – especially by the people – most of whom would not agree with the current US-led EU aggression vis-à-vis the East, Russia and China. They know, they are part of the contiguous Super-Continent Eurasia – 55 million km2, 70% of the world’s population and close to two thirds of the world’s GDP. Therefore, the sooner they associate with the Continent where they belong to, the better.
Will the declining empire peacefully accept – and opt rather for a multi-polar world than risking a WWIII destruction of civilization as we know it?
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)
Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.