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Opinion

Zelensky must consider negotiation

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

Pragmatically speaking, without the concrete backing from NATO and the United States of America, Ukraine is doomed.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is totally aware of the NATO’s and USA’s hesitance, if not fear, of engaging in its conflict with Russia. They are even careful in their moves not to be misinterpreted by Russian President Vladimir Putin who made a clear threat to those who will get involved in the conflict.

Zelensky asked NATO to implement a no-fly zone in Ukraine so that Russian air assets cannot be used. Yet NATO has made it clear that it wouldn’t so that the war will not escalate.

They must have heard Putin saying, “Now we are hearing that a no-fly zone must be established over the territory of Ukraine. It is impossible to do so.” Putin added, “but any move in this direction will be viewed by us as a participation in the armed conflict.” Putin further said, “That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict and it would not matter what members they are.”

It’s worth noting that on the early part of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the American government gave the president of Ukraine and his family, an evacuation offer. The rejection was quick. “The fight is here,” he was quoted as saying, adding that he needed anti-tank ammunition “not a ride.”

That America wanted him to leave his country was an indirect message of surrender or an advice of surrender. There was no need for US to say it in concrete terms.

Zelensky must have known very well that the moment he leaves, there will be no more leadership in his country and everything will logically fall. It’s noble of him not to leave his country in the midst of war.

As of this writing, the war is already on its 16th day, and we have all seen the ugly face of war. From all indications, things are not going in Ukraine’s favor. Putin remains unmoved. And lately, Russian military gave the civilians one day to evacuate for humanitarian reasons. These civilians are leaving in droves.

The request for civilians to leave is ominous. It tells us that what we see as of now is just the tip of the iceberg of what we have yet to see. In my humble view, Zelensky must now consider negotiating with Russia and look at things pragmatically. Let me tell you why.

One must remember that this war, like many wars, is about self-preservation for both countries. On the part of Russia, it just does not want its perceived enemies to obtain a strategic position against it. It is apprehensive that the moment Ukraine joins NATO, the US will put up military bases in Ukraine. It’s a preemptive move on the part of Russia.

Some countries may have promised to Ukraine their support if Russia would attack. The attack continues, but what we see, so far, is not the kind of support that Zelensky expects. Zelensky is disappointed, but he still has time to maneuver, without appearing as a loser --by negotiating. I appreciate his bravery but the stakes are just too high.

No one can deny that this war is affecting us all in many ways, especially on economic aspects. We feel the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products already. It has a domino effect on us all, most particularly the poor.

It is to the best interest of many if this war ends the soonest. Let us continue to pray.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

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