When I first heard about Zelensky agreeing to negotiate with Putin’s representatives I wondered, to say the least. What is there to negotiate over?
Maybe this is just paranoia, but you have to wonder why that 40 mile long Russian military convoy that is headed to Kyiv has stopped. There is speculation that they may have run out of fuel, but that sounds strange. They must know how much fuel it would take to get to that city. Is it possible that the convoy is stopped while the two sides’ representatives negotiate a deal? One can well imagine what the Russians would be saying: “You know what we did to Grozny and to Aleppo. We don’t want to, but we are prepared to do the same to Kyiv. Do you really want your capital city reduced to rubble and tens of thousands killed? Come to an agreement now, before our convoy reaches Kyiv.”
One must also wonder why the convoy has not come under attack, since it seems they would be extremely vulnerable. Maybe there is a good reason, but it does seem strange on the face of it.
It’s easy for us here in the U.S. to condemn any compromise, but it would really put Zelensky in a spot. He might be prepared to die himself, but tens of thousands and the destruction of the country’s chief city? What sort of deal could they possibly reach? Give up all claim to the Donbas? Maybe more?
If such a deal is reached, would it be enforceable? Masses of Ukrainians are now armed. Would they act on their own to attack Russian troops? And what would happen within Russia? It seems to me that it would seriously strengthen Putin and be a setback to any popular resistance to him.
We also must realize that the people of Ukraine do not necessarily have the same interests as do the US and the EU. Yes, the latter want to stop Putin’s invasion and push it back if possible. But they also must be thinking about their economies and their profits, which are being hurt mightily by the sanctions that they had to impose. So for them, a compromise might be preferable if it’s necessary. Today and yesterday CNN has been talking regularly about a cease-fire. Why should there be a cease fire as long as the invaders are in Ukraine? Wouldn’t a cease fire be a first step towards a compromise?
What is the alternative?
Videos are leaking out showing Ukrainians appealing to and lecturing Russian soldiers and it’s clearly getting through. In one instance, for example, a Ukrainian crowd got an entire little convoy of Russian soldiers to turn around. Meanwhile, that convoy is a sitting duck for such an approach. While Zelensky is arming the young men (why not women also?), would it be possible to send older people and women to approach the convoy and appeal to the soldiers?