Ukraine and Russia have been going through multiple peace talks throughout the Ukrainian war. The peace talks are progressing to find a compromise from the two nations, but it is an inevitable thought in many people’s minds that Russia may be using this as a chance to regroup their military. During the meeting, Russia showed that they were not rushing to end the conflict. Russia’s deputy defense minister, Aleksandr Fomin, said that Russia can reduce military activity in Kyiv and the northern border to negotiate deals with the Ukrainian government.
In Kyiv, Ukrainians are already on the defensive. The Russian army has been blocking access by the Dnieper River. Although there are Russian troops that have retreated from the battle, they are not surrendering anytime soon. The meeting on Tuesday proposed the 15-year status of Crimea between Ukraine and Russia. Analysts believe that Russians would also want to take Mariupol, an important port city that flushes in wealth for Ukrainians and transportation for trade.
François Heisbourg, a French defense analyst with the Foundation for Strategic Research, said, “This is a chance for the Russians to consolidate, to regroup, to remove themselves from places out of reach logistically, where they have already run out of food and ammunition.” Western officials stated that Russians are running out of weapons and artillery shells. The meeting for Ukraine and Russia allows them to resupply their needs and await for the trigger when they are ready. Mathieu Boulègue, a French scholar who studies the Russian military, said that Russian troops are struggling to take over these important Ukrainian cities even after a month. That is to show that the goals of the Russians will need to change to reach for a compromise with Ukraine; otherwise, the war would be dragging and expending the financial cost and the livelihood of many on both sides of the war.
Ian Garner, a historian who studies Russian propaganda, points out that “Putin’s Russia — indeed, post-Soviet Russia — has been engaged in mucky, endless conflicts for years.” Senior Ukrainian negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, wanted to get security with a treaty observed by NATO nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Although Ukrainian and Western officials believe that Russians may be able to negotiate for a demilitarized Ukraine, security analysts highly doubt that there would be a true peace offering between these nations. On another note, if Ukraine does join the European Union, it would pose a threat to Putin because their economy would advance significantly compared to Russia. Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House, stated, “and you would end up with a South Korea next to a North Korea, and I can’t see Putin accepting that.”