The New Russian Peace Deal Shows Why Peace Between Russia and Ukraine Isn't Possible Yet

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool

Sources allegedly in the know about Kremlin discussions told Reuters Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate a peace deal with Ukraine. The terms are pretty simple: Russia gets whatever it wants and is free to resume hostilities at any point if Putin's conditions aren't met:


Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to halt the war in Ukraine with a negotiated ceasefire that recognises the current battlefield lines, four Russian sources told Reuters, saying he is prepared to fight on if Kyiv and the West do not respond.

Three of the sources, familiar with discussions in Putin's entourage, said the veteran Russian leader had expressed frustration to a small group of advisers about what he views as Western-backed attempts to stymie negotiations and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's decision to rule out talks.


Putin's insistence on locking in any battlefield gains in a deal is non-negotiable, all of the sources suggested.

Putin would, however, be ready to settle for what land he has now and freeze the conflict at the current front lines, four of the sources said.

"Putin will say that we won, that NATO attacked us and we kept our sovereignty, that we have a land corridor to Crimea, which is true," one of them said, giving their own analysis.

Freezing the conflict along current lines would leave Russia in possession of substantial chunks of four Ukrainian regions he formally incorporated into Russia in September 2022, but without full control of any of them.

Such an arrangement would fall short of the goals Moscow set for itself at the time, when it said the four of Ukraine's regions - Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson - now belonged to it in their entirety.

Peskov said that there could be no question of handing back the four regions which were now permanently part of Russia according to its own constitution.


Negotiations don't start from a position of maximalist demands unless you are able to enforce them. Even the alleged Putin confidants who talked to Reuters for the report admit that Putin is tired of the war and wants to move on.

Let me stop here for a moment and say that anyone who thinks five members of Putin's entourage talked to Reuters about Putin's personal position on peace talks without acting under orders from Putin to do so. Those people are a danger to themselves and to others. The fact that no one in the Kremlin has acknowledged this alleged cease-fire offer on the record tells you all you need to know about its seriousness.

Three sources said Putin understood any dramatic new advances would require another nationwide mobilisation, which he didn't want, with one source, who knows the Russian president, saying his popularity dipped after the first mobilisation in September 2022.

The national call up spooked part of the population in Russia, triggering hundreds of thousands of draft age men to leave the country. Polls showed Putin’s popularity falling by several points.

By Russia's own admission, any peace deal has to lock in current Russian gains. The problem is, as Dmitry "Pornstache" Peskov said, that Russia has annexed the totality of four Ukrainian Oblasts since the war started, and setting aside that annexation is not on the table.

BACKGROUND: Putin’s Illegal Annexation of Ukrainian Territory Marks the Beginning of a War Without a Perceivable End 

This means that Russia is not only demanding to keep the territory it has overrun, but it is actually requiring Ukraine to relinquish more territory as a condition of negotiations.


A statement by the Russian ambassador to the US made that very clear.

It is also hard to see how the negotiations move forward as Putin said, basically as the Reuters story was running as "exclusive," that Zelensky can't be a party to the talks.

"We are aware that the legitimacy of the current head of the Ukrainian state is over." Therefore, "it is not an idle question" with whom Moscow should hold negotiations.

The underlying purpose of the conference in Geneva is to confirm the legitimacy of Zelensky, but "these PR steps have no significance for legal documents."

Russia should make sure that it deals with legitimate Ukrainian authorities in case of resuming negotiations, but it is Ukraine that has to determine their legitimacy. "First and foremost, I think, from the position of the parliament, constitutional court or some other institutions."

If we look at this offer as anything other than a propaganda ploy aimed at bolstering the spirits and imaginations of Putin's fan club in the West, we are probably idiots who deserve whatever comes next.

It is interesting to see that Peskov has even borrowed some of the language of the isolationist and Putinist right in the Reuters article, though he could have used a better translator.


Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in response to a request for comment, said the country did not want “eternal war.”

No, Mr. Peskov, the term is "forever war." You can read it in the RedState comments every time an article is posted on the Ukraine war.

The Russians are simply advancing a narrative ahead of the international peace conference Switzerland is hosting on June 15-16. 

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. All the Russian proposal does, to the extent it is even a serious proposal, is reward Russia for criminal behavior, return control of Russian overseas assets to Moscow, remove war-related economic sanctions, and set the stage for another Russian invasion. Nothing in the Russian scheme is even vaguely just, and no sane government would consider it. Russia knows that and they don't want it considered, they want big social media accounts and some Republican Members of Congress and Senators to have talking points to advace Putin's agenda.


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