By Steven PiferAll wars come to an end. One side may be conquered, the attacker may give up and withdraw, or the warring parties can negotiate a settlement. Whether Russia’s unjustified war on Ukraine gets to a genuine negotiation depends first on whether Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin adjust their demands. Lack of success on the battlefield may give reason to do so, but the Kremlin has yet to show real readiness to engage. Even if Moscow gets serious, the negotiation will prove difficult.
A Failing Offensive?
Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24. To the surprise of many in Moscow, Ukrainian armed forces have waged a stubborn, determined and effective defense. Russian officials claim that military operations are proceeding according to plan, but few share that view.
Russia’s armed forces have clearly underperformed. They failed to occupy Kyiv, believed to be their top objective. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city sited just 20 miles from the Russian border, remains in Ukrainian hands. The Russians continue to struggle to gain Mariupol, which they have subjected to brutal bombardment. Moscow says it has lost 1,351 soldiers killed in action, but NATO officials estimate the true number lies between 7,000 and 15,000.
In what may be implicit …read more