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Every chance to find a way out of the war must be seized

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In the years to come, academics may focus on whether war is coming Ukraine was avoidable.

A much more pressing and immediate question now is: Can it be stopped?

Few believe that the peace talks in Istanbul will find an immediate breakthrough. The fact that the process is ongoing is more important. There is no respite for civilians in smoldering besieged cities.

Greater resistance than Moscow imagined, as well as mounting casualties and costs, will focus thought even as Putin’s heart is set on empire-building. Such setbacks have forced Russia’s military to recalibrate.

The announcement that the generals will now focus on expanding separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine – a full month after they exposed the bulk of their invading forces to an inept assault on Kyiv – shows a significant rethink is needed.

Tentative positions can be extreme, as is always the case when compromise is inevitable. With both sides running out of walk-away alternatives, the much-discussed “off ramp” for Putin needs to be considered.

With costs and losses rising at such an alarming rate, the realization that an agreement is better than a ruinous dispute is more likely, even in the Kremlin.

In the short term, priority must be given to opening humanitarian corridors. A ceasefire would certainly serve to promote progress in political negotiations aimed at reaching a peace agreement.

If Moscow is looking for a declaration of serious intentions about the talks, then President Zelenskyy’s announcement that his country is ready to declare neutrality and offer security guarantees to Russia, including maintaining the country’s nuclear-free state if Russia withdraws its troops, would have little one can be more magnanimous.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, the non-nuclear status of our state – we are ready for that. That’s the main point… they started the war because of that,” he said.

The President went on to say that “it is not possible to get Russia to leave the territory completely” as it “could lead to World War III”.

If these statements aren’t enough to give the discussions a solid impetus, Moscow isn’t serious about reaching an agreement.

Clearly, Putin has not prepared for the cost or consequences of a protracted war of attrition. But given the huge imbalance in military resources and Putin’s proven ruthlessness, any grounds for optimism are probably premature.

However, if the outlines of a settlement can be fixed, every effort must be made to find it.

Putin is quite at ease about reducing much of Ukraine to rubble, hopelessly misguided to believe that the long-term consequences will be anything but catastrophic.

The zeal with which Washington sought to roll back President Joe Biden’s imprudent pronouncements hinting at regime change in Moscow speaks to a recognition that Putin is going nowhere.

When faced with the choice between clear defeat or further escalation of the conflict, we know how the autocrat will react.

Any chance of finding a way out of this war must be seized, regardless of misgivings.

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/any-chance-to-find-a-way-out-of-war-must-be-seized-41497236.html Every chance to find a way out of the war must be seized

Fry Electronics Team

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