Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out his conditions for a permanent end to the Ukraine crisis during a visit to Mongolia on Sept. 3.
The seven-point plan makes it clear: He wants Ukraine to retreat and for “repair brigades” to come in and fix things up.
The proposal would formalise the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine while requiring the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from their internationally recognised territory in the Donbas region, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Kiev’s forces since February.
This proposal, which both Ukraine and the international community are unlikely to accept, amounts to Russian annexation of eastern Ukraine — Putin would be able to secure and develop the region, and Ukraine would be forced to accept a new reality on the ground.
This follows Moscow’s longstanding game plan from other conflicts on the Russian periphery. For instance, the Georgian separatists regions of South Ossetia and Abhkazia are secured with the help of “peacekeepers” from the Russian army, even though both areas are internationally recognised as part of Georgia.
Journalist Sean Walker of The Guardian summed up Putin’s current strategy in Ukraine perfectly:
The map below shows where the front lines stood as of Aug. 29. With the Russian military rapidly reversing Kiev’s gains against pro-Moscow separatists, Putin likely believes that he is a position to dictate terms to his Ukrainian counterparts — and that’s after deploying an invasion force that didn’t include a particularly active air or sea component.
Putin feels that he’s winning — which is why he’s proposing peace terms that he knows neither Ukraine nor the U.S.-led security alliance would ever accept.
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