In theory, peace should be perceived by people as a good thing, while continuation of war as a bad one. But not in our case. Not when you’re at war with Russia.
Recently there has been more and more talk about a ceasefire. It is very important for us and for the Western community to understand how dangerous it would be to arrange a cease-fire with Russia at this stage of the war. Let’s look into the reasons why.
He really wants a ceasefire
In his public speeches, Russian President Vladimir Putin has long made it clear that he is not against a ceasefire with Ukraine. In fact, he wants very much to force Ukraine to negotiate in order to arrange this very ceasefire.
Putin recently stated that “Russia has not yet seriously started anything in Ukraine”. And he added: “Russia is not giving up on peace talks on the Ukrainian issue, but the later they start, the harder it will be to negotiate.”
It is as if he is trying to intimidate the Ukrainian government, the Ukrainian people, and the West. He is trying to “fake us out”. But he will not succeed, certainly not with the Ukrainians.
Why does Putin need a ceasefire so badly?
Here we will talk about three main dimensions: military, political, and economic.
As you know, things on the fronts are not going so well as Putin had hoped. The British Intelligence concludes that “while Russia may still make further territorial gains, their operational tempo and rate of advance is likely to be very slow without a significant operational pause for reorganization and refit”.
Therefore, Putin urgently needs a respite during which he will not lose territories he has already seized. And the only possibility for that is a ceasefire.
Of course, the Ukrainian army also needs some kind of pause to make up for its losses. After all, this is a war of attrition. But the positions of the Ukrainians are already stabilizing, and we are close to taking the initiative on the fronts. Therefore, in militarily regard, Ukraine does not need a ceasefire at the moment.
Putin’s political rating depends directly on the support for the war, or as they call it the “special military operation”, among the Russian population. If the level of support for the war falls, so will Putin’s rating.
If the “second army of the world” starts suffering territorial losses on the battlefield, Russians will start asking themselves: What’s wrong? Why is the “special operation” not going according to plan and we have so many losses? After all, what is it all about? And the losses are indeed enormous – more and more “cargo 200” is coming to Russia.
As a reminder, the Ukrainian army is gradually moving into a counteroffensive in the southern direction, one by one liberating settlements in the Kherson region. Consequently, “as well as dealing with severe under-manning, Russian planners face a dilemma between deploying reserves to the Donbas or defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson sector” (conclusion of the British intelligence). Losing Kherson would be a huge blow for Putin precisely from a political point of view.
Meanwhile, the Russian economy is hastening its end. According to Forbes, in May alone the Russian economy accelerated its monthly decline by one and a half times – more than 4%. And the decline continues.
It will inevitably cause turmoil in Russian society as well. When the long-suffering Russian average citizens have nowhere to make money and nothing to buy food for, they will have even more questions for the government.
The war is draining the Russian economy. On the one hand, millions of rubles are spent every day on the war effort. On the other hand, Western sanctions are working. The economy also needs a break: a ceasefire.
What tools does Putin use to pressure us?
As always – terrorism. By carrying out various actions dangerous to society (in fact, terrorist attacks), he tries to force the other party to agree to his terms.
He pressures Ukraine by bombing Ukrainian cities and killing civilians. He tries to make so that the Ukrainians themselves get tired of the war and the constant losses and begin to pressure the Ukrainian authorities themselves to negotiate. In order to achieve at least some kind of peace – “just to stop shooting”.
He pressures the West not only by war fatigue, but also by blackmailing it with gas and food crisis, economic recession, and inflation. As winter approaches, we should expect that the Kremlin, through its various channels, will draw apocalyptic pictures for Europeans of how Europe will freeze to death in winter without Russian gas and so on. This, too, is a type of terrorism, more sophisticated than that of the Ukrainians, who are simply killed by missiles and bombs.
How is the ceasefire dangerous for Ukraine?
First, a ceasefire will give Russia an opportunity to build up its forces in the future. During this time, they will replenish weapons and ammunition, replenish personnel, and regroup where necessary. And then, taking into account their previous mistakes, the new offensive may turn out much successful than the first one (!)
Second, a ceasefire will allow Russia to declare the captured territories as its own and make the ceasefire line a de facto “border”. This would give them “cause” to hold “referendums” on the captured territories to join Russia and claim that it is “their” territory.
Third, a ceasefire would thus make the operation on liberation of the territories seized by Russia and returning them to Ukraine almost impossible. For Ukraine, this would be equivalent to a defeat in the war. Also, because it would then be difficult to convince the West that the war is not over, it is still going on!
Whose side is the West on?
Let’s be frank: Ukraine's main weakness in this war is its dependence on Western supplies and support. And if they diminish, it will be very difficult for Ukraine to continue fighting. Putin is well aware of this, which is why he is trying to pressure the West.
What Ukraine needs is victory in this war on Ukraine's terms.
Unlike Ukraine, many politicians and ordinary people in the West want the war to end as soon as possible and by any means necessary. Therefore, this category of people will welcome Putin's attempts to arrange a ceasefire and pressure Zelensky to agree to such a ceasefire.
And if such an extremely dangerous ceasefire is achieved, many in the West will say, “Yay, they finally have a deal! At least some peace!” And in general: enough with the war. And if Ukraine wants to continue hostilities, the West (or part of the West) may refuse to supply arms.
Putin is already trying to make Ukraine look like the more belligerent party, while portraying himself as “peace-loving” and ready to negotiate. This is his usual tactic. But it is a very dangerous illusion. Never forget who started this war!
Position of Ukraine
Ukraine's position on this issue is firm and will remain so: resumption of peace talks with Russia is possible only after Russia is defeated on the front lines.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba recently voiced it: “Russia must come to the negotiating table after its defeat on the battlefield. Volodymyr Zelensky holds a principled position on this matter. He does not rule out the possibility of negotiations, but there is no reason for that now, given Russia's aggressive behavior. He has very clearly communicated this to the leaders of the countries that have hinted at negotiations”.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has started talking about expanding “geographic objectives” in the war against Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on July 20 that Moscow plans to seize not only Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but also the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, as well as other territories of Ukraine.
And they are making such statements at the same time as they talk about negotiations and a ceasefire arrangement!
The Ukrainian side immediately responded. Kuleba stated: “The Russian foreign minister's confession of dreams of seizing more Ukrainian land proves: Russia rejects diplomacy and is focused on war and terror. The Russians want blood, not negotiations. I urge all partners to tighten sanctions against Russia and speed up arms deliveries to Ukraine”.
The West must indeed show firmness and restraint now. And not buy its economic stability, the tranquility of its societies, and the retention of its electorate at the cost of Ukraine's territorial integrity.
War is a kind of game, and tricks are a favorite fighting tool of our opponent, the Kremlin. A “ceasefire” is just a trick to allow the Russian Federation to hold on to what it has already seized. And neither the Ukrainians, much less the West, should fall for it.
Many of you may have been wondering what to do next, since we need gas and food in any case. But we hope you understand that a direct confrontation with the aggressor cannot be avoided. Only by stopping him together we will be able to return to normal life.
We will never tire of repeating: Putin will not stop in Ukraine. He will stop where he will be stopped.
Author - Anastasiya Glotova, 25/07/2022