We've all watched in horror, as the unnecessary war in Ukraine unfolds. The humanitarian crisis has grown daily, as Ukrainian civilians- men, women, and children- are caught in the path of destruction caused by Russian missiles, bombs and artillery. But there appears to be a slim chance for peace. Over the past week, some points of agreement have emerged that could lead to a plan for disengagement and withdrawal of Russian troops, as long as both sides are sincere in their proposals.
Some points of agreement have emerged...
On Monday, March 7th, Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov declared the following Russian demands that must be met before Russian troop withdrawal...
1) Ukraine must cease military action (one would assume this includes their efforts against Russian-speaking separatists in the disputed Donbas region)
2)Ukraine must change its constitution to enshrine neutrality (no membership in NATO, or likely the European Union)
"They should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc," Peskov said.
3) Ukraine must recognize Crimea (seized from Ukraine in 2014) as Russian territory
4) Ukraine must recognize Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics
If Ukraine commits to all of these conditions, "all of this can be stopped in a moment, " Peskov said.
An unnoticed, but interesting comment stated by Peskov is, "Ukraine is an independent state that will live as it wants, but under conditions of neutrality." This statement appears to contradict, or at least step back, previous claims made by Vladimir Putin, in his July 2021 letter, "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians," and during his televised speech just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where he argued that Ukraine was an artificial country and that "the wall that has emerged in recent years between Russian and Ukraine, between parts of what essentially is the same historical and spiritual space, to my mind is our great common misfortune and tragedy." Perhaps the fierce resistance of the Ukrainian military and people has caused Putin and his government to reconsider this unity!
Zelensky suggested an alternative to NATO membership...
On Tuesday, March 8th, Ukrainian President Vlodomir Zelensky's "Servant of the People Party," responded with a proposal of its own.
In it, they suggested a new security agreement, as an alternative to NATO, with the United States, Turkey, and neighboring countries (possibly including Russia) as guarantors with specific penalties for violation. This agreement would create legal obligations for Russia to recognize Ukrainian nationhood and refrain from threatening the Ukrainian people and government.
"The (NATO) alliance is not ready to accept Ukraine for at least 15 years," a party spokesman said. "We cannot use only the lines of our constitution (expressing Ukrainian desire to join NATO)... to defend our country."
With regards to Russia's demands of recognition of its sovereignty over Crimea and the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the spokesman stated, "It is clear that we will not do that. But we need to decide how the lives of people in these territories will be regulated within our integral state."
The last part of this statement is revealing in that is suggests some kind of federal, or confederal, arrangement, with local autonomy and constitutional protections for residents.
This is very similar to what I proposed in my article for Fighting Fascism, "Putin Follows Path of Hitler," published on February 22, 2022. There I wrote, "Constitutional federalism, with local autonomy, is the solution." Stating that self-determination is key, I called for carefully monitored elections, with international observers, to insure a fair vote. "Possible choices include full union with Ukraine, incorporation with Russia, constitutional federation with Ukraine, confederation with Ukraine, or full independence," I said.
We should not ignore a diplomatic opportunity to save lives...
It is clear that the situation in Ukraine is likely to get far worse, before it improves. As Ukrainian resistance prevents a Russian victory, Putin's desperation and wrath is getting worse. We should continue to strongly stand with the Ukrainian people and provide al means necessary for them to defend themselves. We must also hold the Russian government, including Putin himself, for their actions and likely war crimes. But, we should not ignore a diplomatic opportunity to save lives. This past week has revealed the possible beginnings of a plan for peace, centered around the core elements of Ukrainian political and military neutrality and constitutional federalism for Russian-speaking regions in the east of the country. Chances of such a plan succeeding are still far fetched, but it may offer enough for Vladimir Putin to save face, both domestically and around the world, to cause him to withdraw his troops from Ukrainian soil. The alternative for him is a long and expensive war and international isolation and humiliation. For Ukrainians, it is the tragic loss of many more lives and the destruction of their country. So, we must try.
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Samuel Griswold is a lifelong student of history and politics, whose studies have given him unique insights into the true nature of totalitarianism in all of its aspects... Fascism, Communism and Socialism. As an American Jew, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, he's lived by the pledges "Never Forget" and "Never Again." But, for him, these pledges mean to never let the policies that led to the Holocaust happen again. To prevent fascism from thriving, we must know how to see and define it. That is the purpose of FightingFascism.com, to draw attention and rally opposition to current fascist policies and governments.