Day 290: Putin Suggests Possibility of Settlement Despite Skepticism

    Day 290: Putin Suggests Possibility of Settlement Despite Skepticism
    Last updated Dec 12, 2022
    Image credit: AP Photos [via AP News]


    • Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin on Friday suggested the possibility of a settlement to end the war in Ukraine, but voiced skepticism, stating that Western countries had "deceived" Russia in the past.[1]
    • Speaking at a press conference in Kyrgyzstan, he said: "The settlement process as a whole, yes, it will probably be difficult and will take some time. But one way or another, all participants in this process will have to agree with the realities that are taking shape on the ground."[2]
    • However, he questioned if Western countries could be trusted in light of comments made by former German chancellor Angela Merkel to the Die Zeit magazine earlier in the week. Merkel said that the Minsk agreements signed nearly a decade ago were "an attempt to give Ukraine time" so that it could build its military capabilities. "The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today," she said[3]
    • In light of the remarks, Putin said: "Now there is a question of trust on the agenda, and it is already close to zero." He added: "I have said many times that we are ready for agreements, we are open, but this makes us stop to think about who we are dealing with."[4]
    • Putin also made comments about possibly adopting a US-style approach to preemptive strikes, seen by some as nuclear saber-rattling. "Speaking about a disarming strike, maybe it’s worth thinking about adopting the ideas developed by our US counterparts, their ideas of ensuring their security," he said, adding: "We are just thinking about it. They weren’t shy to openly talk about it during the past years."[5]
    • Meanwhile, in an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concerns the war in Ukraine could spiral out of control and become a conflict between Russia and NATO. "It is a terrible war in Ukraine," he said. "It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between NATO and Russia. We are working on that every day to avoid that."[6]
    • On the ground on Saturday, Russia launched an attack on energy infrastructure in Odesa while attacks were also recorded in the regions of Sumy, Kherson, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv. Heavy fighting also continued in Donetsk where four civilians were reported injured. Four people were reported injured in Dnipropetrovsk.[7]
    • Elsewhere, Ilya Yashin, an opposition politician in Russia was sentenced to eight and a half years imprisonment on Friday after a judge found he had disseminated "false information" about the conduct of Russia's armed forces in the course of the war.[8]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Putin is again escalating the nuclear rhetoric and threatening to wipe out his opponents if he doesn't get his way. He may not quite say Russia will use nuclear weapons, but by saying it's a possibility, he wants to scare off the West's rightful support for Ukraine.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Putin's comments, made in tongue-in-cheek, are aimed at showing the world the asymmetric nature of US policy which already adopts a stance of permitting a first strike. Russia's nuclear doctrine only permits nuclear strikes in response to a nuclear attack on the country, or a conventional attack that threatens its very existence.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 1% chance that at least one nuclear weapon will be detonated in Ukraine before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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