The War in Ukraine, continued
I am astonished that in all the 24/7 coverage of the Russian invasion, so little attention is being paid to what to my eyes seems clearly to be a most – perhaps the most – significant development of the past few days: The utter silence, on both the Russian and the Ukrainian side, about what they talked about at their first negotiating session at the border, followed, today, by the announcement that they will be holding a second round of talks shortly.
This is exactly what you would expect to happen if there were actually serious proposals under consideration. If it was all just arm-waving and table-pounding, you’d think that one side, or both, would have said so, blaming the other side for the futility of the exercise. I take the fact that the Ukrainians have agreed to a second meeting as a very positive sign; they must think that something useful could come out of continuing the discussions, and they’re in a helluva lot better position to make that judgment than I am.
One thing is crystal clear: the Russians did not want to be in this position. When the invasion began, Putin had no intention of negotiating with Zelensky or his government. His plan – does anyone doubt this? – was to destroy
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