An ultimatum to Russia?

The forced withdrawal of the Russian troops from the key city of Kherson on the western bank of the Ukraine's main river Dnieper marked a radical if not a crucial turning point in Russia's undeclared war against Ukraine, which began on February 24.

It has now become clear to everyone, including Russia's top leadership, that Russia has already de facto lost the war and further escalation is likely to lead to a complete collapse of the Russian state machine and prosecution by the International Court of Justice of the country's top leadership on charges of war crimes. That outcome is something that they want to try to avoid at any cost. Both sides of the front line, the U.S. and all European countries, have a strong desire to end this bloody and costly war as soon as possible.

Friday, from various independent sources in Russia, came interesting, albeit officially unconfirmed, information about a possibility to establish peace in Ukraine. If this information is officially confirmed, the result will not only be the end of the war, but also the end of 22 years of Putin's rule.

According to this information, the Russian government has received an offer from as yet unnamed Western countries. Allegedly, this offer has been already agreed upon and approved by the Ukrainian side. This proposal is essentially an ultimatum to Russia to capitulate. The proposal aroused in the Russian leadership circles (excluding Putin himself so far) a great interest.

The main points of this ultimatum are as follows:

1. Russia ceases all hostilities against Ukraine and withdraws its military formations from its territory, including the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk that were recently annexed by Russia.

2. The status of the peninsula of Crimea in the Black Sea does not change and is not subject to negotiation for the next 7 years. The entire territory of Crimea becomes a demilitarized zone, and the Russian military fleet permanently leaves Crimea.

3. Along the borders between Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, a 100 km wide demilitarized strip is introduced. Six western countries have already agreed to actively guarantee this agreement on the demilitarized strip.

4. Russia should leave the Dniester River area and without any Russian interference, this zone will become part of Moldova.

5. Ukraine agrees not to join NATO within THE next 7 years.

6. Russia's top leaders and their families receive immunity from international prosecution.

An indirect confirmation that Putin is willing to consider these conditions in the coming days could be the cessation of bombing of the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

Pexels license

If the bombing continues, this will mean a rejection. For Putin to accept these proposals would be the end of his rule, since to save face and even his life, he would have to go into the shadows and shift the responsibility for failure of the entire military campaign to someone else, say Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. What will happen to Russia after that, we can only guess, but certainly the threat of a world war will be drastically reduced.

I want to make one skeptical point: we cannot rule out a chance that this information, obtained entirely from the unnamed sources in Russia, is an attempt by Russian officials to introduce a proposal via a backdoor. They may have a hope that these six points, presented without resorting to diplomatic channels, is a workable proposal to end the war and may be of interest to both Ukraine and its Western partners.

The key point for the Kremlin in this list is point No. 6. The Russian government and security officials are desperately looking for a way out of this hopeless situation, while their main, if not only goal is personal security. The future of their own country does not interest them at all. They are ready to do anything if their personal safety is guaranteed. As one can see, the points of the "ultimatum" do not include the West lifting the sanctions against Russia and do not guarantee Russia anything, except immunity for its strongmen from prosecution.

Hopefully, in the near future we will see a lot of interesting news in that regard.

If you experience technical problems, please write to