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Ukraine War has reached a dead end with no country in a position to win

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It is high time NATO nations and Russia agree on a permanent ceasfire

By Ben Chacko

All through 2023 the conflict in Ukraine has been drifting towards deadlock. As the year draws to a close the military positions remain very much where they were at its start.

The much-hyped Ukrainian spring-summer offensive has made little difference beyond the waste of further lives and resources. That will not have surprised many military authorities, who pointed out that Ukraine's armed forces lacked the margin of superiority generally needed for a successful offensive.

While the Russian army's defensive performance has clearly improved on the blundering that marked the first months after the invasion of February 2022, neither does it display any great offensive capacity. Russian generals have thrown vast numbers of conscript soldiers into battles for long-destroyed towns without securing any strategic advantage.

Even securing control over all the territory of the four Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russia earlier this year appears beyond reach. On the political front, US willingness to continue to supply munitions to Ukraine seems to be faltering, with Republicans in Congress increasingly opposed. Any diminution in armaments coming from Washington will tilt the advantage to Russia, which relies mainly on its own production. Given Russia's undoubted superiority in manpower reserves over Ukraine, it may therefore be better placed to profit from protracted deadlock.

However, most of the NATO leadership continues to insist on war until victory for Ukraine, despite the absence of any plan for achieving that objective, beyond wishing without discernible foundation for a more pliant regime in Moscow to emerge. Senior Ukrainian military figures and some of its political leaders acknowledge that such a victory is not presently foreseeable.

This then is surely the time for a peace initiative, based on the mutual recognition that maximum demands are unachievable. Yet no-one is yet coming forward with such a proposal. Earlier Chinese efforts and a NATO-sponsored conference this year did not lead anywhere.

Today, diplomats are doubtless distracted by the carnage in Gaza. But they need the capacity to address two problems at once. The outlines of such an agreement remain what they have always been. Ukraine should remain outside NATO but should have robust security guarantees to prevent renewed Russian aggression.

The status of Crimea within the Russian Federation should be de facto accepted, and the future of other regions be decided by proper referenda under independent supervision and after refugees have been able to return home.

Russian language rights in Ukraine should be guaranteed, and Russia should unambiguously acknowledge Ukraine's right to sovereignty and independence. It should contribute to a global fund to restore the devastation it has wrought in Ukraine.

These are only broad principles of course and there are many complexities to be addressed. The first step is a ceasefire which, like all ceasefires, starts with the contesting armies in more or less their present positions. Such a plan would mean both Putin's neo-tsarist chauvinism on the one hand, and Ukrainian nationalism and NATO expansionists on the other, accepting less than full victory.

The alternative is prolonged carnage with thousands dying. And while conflict continues the danger of the war widening to other countries or deepening with escalation up the weapons chain remains.

It also damages the . Sanctions have done more to distress the Global South than they have to disrupt Russia's war. The continuation of the Ukraine conflict only benefits imperialism in its drive to weaken Russia the better to isolate China, perceived as the real challenge.

Today, millions across the country are mobilising against Israeli aggression. In Gaza the NATO powers likewise oppose a ceasefire. Their policy is endless war. Ours is to end the wars. (IPA Service)

Courtesy: Morning Star

 

 

 

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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