Sustained Fighting and Hopes for Peace

As the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears on Feb. 24, neither side has shown movement toward negotiating an end to the war.

An estimated 100,000 Russian soldiers and possibly an equal number of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have died so far, according to Klaus Larres, Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor of History and International Affairs, director of the Krasno Global Events Series and editor of the “Krasno Analysis.” And the war’s effects on the world’s economy continue.

Larres doubts that serious and realistic peace talks could take place anytime soon. While both sides say that they are prepared to enter peace talks, both maintain maximalist positions. Russia claims that Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Crimea must remain under Russian control. Ukraine demands its sovereign borders as established in 1991 must be restored and that Russia must be tried at a war crime tribunal.

Larres speculates that peace negotiations would only take place when countries either exhaust their economies, capabilities and will to continue war or when one side begins to dominate on the battlefield. He concluded that both of these possibilities do not seem likely in the near future.

“Thus, at present only one depressing overall conclusion appears to be plausible,” claimed Larres. “It seems that both Russia and Ukraine, and thus indirectly the U.S. and the Western alliance, will continue fighting the war in Ukraine for a prolonged period. Unfortunately, it is difficult to see how a constructive negotiated end to the war could come about any time soon.”

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