Strategic inflection point

Recently, the 10 points of the Peace Formula of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the mechanisms for its implementation were once again discussed at a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps.

In this regard, I would like to focus on several important points on which its full implementation will depend. In that respect, of particular importance is the paragraph of the Peace Formula, which provides for the withdrawal of all Russian troops and armed formations from Ukraine’s territory, and the restoration of full control over all sections of the Ukrainian state border. This point is undoubtedly a key element of the entire Ukrainian initiative, without which the overall structure is ineffective.

I am deeply convinced that there is only one effective solution to this problem: de-occupation of Ukrainian lands by military means. russia and its ruling clique don’t understand any other language than the language of force and weapons. Therefore, the peace formula is the weapons formula. The sooner Ukraine receives enough modern weapons, the sooner we will return to peace, which will be safer for Europe and the world. The practice of dosing military assistance to Ukraine due to fear of irritating putin and provoking russia to further escalation is fundamentally flawed. Refusing or delaying the transfer of modern weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces is a direct encouragement to the kremlin to continue the war, not the other way around.

The more convincing to russia is the advantage of Western weapons in the hands of Ukrainians on land, sea, and in the air, the closer we will be to achieving our strategic goals, which coincide with the goals and values of the democratic world.

For example, the complete or partial elimination of the russian Black Sea fleet, which is a solvable problem, would significantly accelerate the process of finding a way out of the war. This could be a good demonstration of the russian army’s lack of capabilities to adequately counter Western technologies, which would paint a very distressing scene of further events.

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But there is a problem. What Ukrainians know, what our Polish friends, friends from the Baltic States – Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia – have been constantly warning us about, many politicians on both sides of the globe still do not want to know and refuse to believe, while the decision to support Ukraine and condemn russia depends on them.

And this is despite the fact that we are on the 569th day of the full-scale war that russia has unleashed against Ukraine. When it seems to be clear what an ugly and extremely dangerous entity the world is dealing with. After tens of thousands of casualties, destruction, and ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity, some people still have illusions about the possibility of dialogue.

Much of the path is behind us, and we don’t know how much more is ahead, and right now we are approaching a strategic inflection point.

A sprint, which everyone was waiting for, is replaced by a long run, and there are different rules and requirements for the athlete’s physical condition and training.

During the war, many things happened that Ukraine and the whole world were not ready for, but they showed firmness and resilience, exactly what is needed now in the circumstances of the new reality.

In a situation where the future is scarily uncertain and unpredictable, one can become tired and be tempted to skepticism or compromise, which is exactly what putin’s calculation is based on. Therefore, it is no coincidence that realizing the inflection point, there are signs of a certain media preparation of public opinion in this direction.

Reputable and influential media outlets are publishing articles that promote several major topics:

  • optimism about Ukraine’s success began to wane;

  • the Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed, and the country’s combat capability is fading every day;

  • the Armed Forces of Ukraine won’t be able to liberate the territories;

  • Ukraine’s ability to withstand the war is measured in weeks and months;

  • russia’s resources are limitless, and the global economy needs them;

  • it is better to end the conflict quickly, even if it allows russia to retain the seized territories.

The kremlin, in turn, sends false signals about its “peace-lovingness” and readiness to end the war, which also slows down the West’s decision to provide Ukraine with new types of weapons and military equipment or increase supplies of the existing nomenclature.

All of this poses the threat described in Foreign Affairs of “the slow unraveling of a carefully woven web of foreign assistance”.

So, to make the implementation of the Peace Formula more successful and as fast as possible. In order to prevent the “unraveling of a web of assistance”, I believe our partners must, first, shape an agreed formula for their own vision of Ukraine’s victory, which creates political responsibility.

Second. Given the election political cycles and possibly changing conditions in Europe and the United States in terms of maintaining the stability of the partnership, it is a far-sighted step to enshrine military assistance to Ukraine in long-term cycles and legislation.

Third, to develop and implement a set of measures to neutralize the so-called “war fatigue”.

Fourth, to re-plan joint activities under all points of the Peace Formula in terms of time and sequence, keeping in mind their possible long-term nature.

However, I want to emphasize once again that putin and his war are a cancerous tumor. If it is not removed completely and permanently, it is only a matter of time before it recurs in an even worse form with metastases spreading throughout the body.

Does anyone think that you can negotiate with a cancerous tumor?

One last point. Any cessation of the war without russia’s defeat will be considered by authoritarian regimes as a putin victory, and this will signal the beginning of conflicts and wars for territories of various kinds and status – first on a regional and then on a global scale.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine

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