Putin still wants total control over Ukraine

In this video I look at Putin's so-called peace plan. Most commentators have reacted to the tangible and frankly outrageous demands that Putin has come up with just to begin negotiations with Ukraine, but I think the most important story is that he also reiterated the original war aims from 2022. The goal is still total control over all of Ukraine, and it is important that people don't get hung up on the idea that the war is about some limited pieces of territory in Eastern Ukraine.


There's been a lot of talk about peace in Ukraine over the last week. Ukraine has had a big international summit on peace, which took place in Switzerland. And Putin has outlined the Russian plan for peace as he sees it. So suddenly there is a lot of talk about peace and peace plans. Does that then mean that we're close to peace or that negotiations are about to start? Absolutely not. If anything, I think all this talk about peace plans has highlighted that we are in fact still very far from actual negotiations. But it's still interesting. So let's talk about it.

I've been traveling over the last week and I'm still catching up on things. So this video is probably going to be short or maybe not quite as polished as usual. But I wanted to comment on all this talk about peace plans and especially about Putin's suggestion for a peace plan. But I think let's start with the Ukrainian summit on peace.

Ukraine has organized this big international summit, which takes place in Switzerland. And almost 100 countries participated and more than half of those countries participated at the level of state leaders. So it's fair to say that it attracted a lot of international attention and also support. And there were some important countries that were missing, particularly China. Ukraine had hopes that China would be there, but they decided not to. But still, it's a lot of attention.

And the Ukrainian summit on peace was not actually an attempt to have peace negotiations or something like that. The purpose was to discuss what can a path to peace in Ukraine potentially look like in the longer perspective. And Ukraine's goal was really to try to get a lot of countries to support their vision of what peace is supposed to look like.

Ukraine has announced a 10-step peace plan and they would like to see this implemented. And the short version of this 10-point peace plan is basically that the Russians should just give up and go back to their own country and then there will be peace in Ukraine. So it's a plan that obviously Putin is never going to accept. But that was also not really the point of this summit. The point was that Ukraine wanted to get a lot of countries to unite behind this goal. That peace in Ukraine means that Ukraine's integrity is reestablished in the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine. And I think also Ukraine managed to send a signal that they are the reasonable part in this conflict and that they are genuinely interested in peace.

So this is an important point because if we go back just a couple of months, then there was a lot of talk in the international press that maybe President Zelensky was too uncompromising. That he didn't have the right attitudes toward negotiations. And perhaps the Ukrainians needed to realize that they have to give up some land to get some peace. And I made a whole video about why this narrative is problematic because it's based on an assumption that the Russians are ready for negotiations and that they are interested in peace. But in reality, that's not really the case. So there is no peace plan on the table that Zelensky could accept, even if he wanted to. But in some parts of the international press, there was created this narrative that the problem was that the Ukrainians weren't willing enough to compromise. So the summit on peace was also about countering that narrative from the Ukrainian side by demonstrating their commitment to finding a viable path to peace.

But lo and behold, the day before the Ukrainian summit on peace, then suddenly Putin announced his own peace plan. And he did this at a meeting at the Russian foreign ministry where there was a meeting with a group of diplomats and leaders in the Russian foreign ministry. And he had a speech where he outlined this plan and it was a peace plan. There's been a lot of confusion about whether or not it was just requirements for a ceasefire or it was a plan for lasting peace. But in reality, it was a bit of both. Like some of the things that he demanded would be things that would need to happen before they would even consider a ceasefire and before they would even start the process of negotiations. And some of the demands were more sort of for a long lasting peace deal. But Putin was actually quite specific that he was not just talking about a temporary ceasefire, but about a permanent plan for peace.

And it has created a lot of attention that Putin said that one of the requirements for peace would be that Ukraine withdraws from all the regions that Russia now considers a part of Russia. So that is the regions of Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk. And he underscored that he's talking about the entire regions in their old administrative borders. So and that's quite significant because the current front line actually runs through those regions. So he's not talking about territory that Russia actually controls at this point. It's not just freezing the front line where it is, but it is that Ukraine has to move backwards and give the Russians a lot more territory and also a lot more people because these territories include several very big cities. And then he also said that Ukraine has to give up all their aspirations to ever become a member of NATO and that all the Western countries should sort of get rid of the sanctions that they have against Russia. So all the sanctions should be removed.

And those are the demands that have been mostly mentioned in the Western media. But in reality, it was a pretty long speech. And in this speech, Putin basically also reiterated all the original demands that he started that he that he had when he he started the full scale invasion back in 2022. So he's still talking about demilitarization and de-notification of Ukraine. And in this context, demilitarization, it basically means that Ukraine has to be so weak that they don't have a military that can defend themselves in case of another Russian invasion. So Ukraine has to be vulnerable and denazification, that's a different word for regime change. So it means that the current Ukrainian government has to be replaced and it has to be replaced by pro-Russian government.

So it basically means that Putin gets control over all of Ukraine and that he can do whatever he wants with the country. Putin essentially just repeated all the same demands that he had when the full scale invasion started more than two years ago. And the only new thing is that he now also demands that Ukraine hands over a part of their territory to Russia. That was not actually one of the original demands when the invasion started. The Russians, they obviously wanted Crimea, but they weren't entirely sure what they wanted to do with the other four regions. The war was about getting control of all of Ukraine. So that was the demilitarization and denazification that he's still talking about.

And at that time, the trouble in the Donbas, that was just the justification that they used to start the war. But because the initial phase of the war, it didn't really work out the way the Russians had hoped. Then the war turned into a war about territory in eastern Ukraine and that's why Putin now wants to have sort of formalized that thing, which he likes to call the new geopolitical realities. And I think he's actually quite happy to have kept the original demands, but then to put on these territorial demands on top of that. Because in his mind, that is a suitable kind of punishment to Ukraine because they've put up all this resistance.

But the short version is that nothing has changed. Putin still has the same goals that he had when the invasion started. And the war is basically about political and military control over all of Ukraine. And it's not just about some regions in the east. And then he also spent a lot of time in his speech talking about the justifications for why Russia is doing this. So that was a repetition of some of those same talking points that we've heard many times before, that really it is Russia that is the victim in all this because they're just defending themselves against American imperialism. And the West is using the Ukrainians as cannon fodder against the Russians. So it's the West that is sort of fueling the war. And also back in 2014 in the Maidan Revolution, that was actually a coup that was organized by President Obama and all those sorts of things. And then as justification for the territorial demands, he was actually quite open. He said that when the war started, it was not his intention to annex all these territories. And if Ukraine had just been reasonable and they had given Russia some guarantees about a land corridor that would sort of connect Russian proper with Crimea, then he would have been absolutely happy to compromise on that. But then, according to Putin, there were referendums in these regions and an overwhelming majority of the people, they voted to be a part of Russia. And since Putin has so much respect for democracy and for the will of the people, so he decided to give the people what they wanted.

My reading of Putin's speech is that he was basically trying to achieve the same things as Zelensky was trying to achieve in Switzerland. And that is to make it look like he's the reasonable part in all this and that Russia is really interested in peace negotiations and that he was trying to create international support behind the Russian peace plan by explaining how it's actually a fair and balanced plan.

And I think it's important that we don't just dismiss this Russian plan as just sort of ridiculous propaganda or something like that, because yes, it does represent an absolutely distorted version of reality. And it shows that Putin, essentially, he doesn't understand the Ukrainian society and he doesn't understand what kind of war he's in. He doesn't understand what a war of nationalism means. But that's exactly the point. Like, this is a glimpse into how Putin sees the world, that he really believes these things and that's why we have to take it very seriously. And obviously, Putin, he's exaggerating in certain ways. He also knows that he's sort of adding a bit here and there. But essentially, this is how he understands the world and he's trying to explain it to us because he wants us to understand it, too. So it's like maybe 10 percent propaganda and 90 percent an actual representation of how he sees the world.

And these kinds of speeches, they give us an opportunity to understand where it is that Putin is coming from. I just recently made a video about the Biden administration's strategy for the war in Ukraine and how it's basically based on the assumption that deep down, Putin also knows that he can't win this war and that he is actually interested in finding. A good solution based on negotiations so the war can end.

But when we look at the speech and the arguments that Putin is making and if we take it seriously as an expression of how Putin actually sees the war and what it is that he wants to achieve, then it's pretty clear that that's not the case. Like, he's not looking for a way out. And I think that's really important. We have to understand the degree to which Putin actually sees this as a defensive war and in his mind, it is Russia that is under attack. It's maybe not as a country, but as a great power, Russia is under attack.

And that means that he has to continue fighting this war because otherwise it will be the end of Russia as he understands it as a great power. And that's also why he's willing to take so horrendous casualties because it's a defensive war. So basically he has no other choice than continue fighting. So this speech, it was actually a pretty good glimpse into Putin's worldview. And it's important that we don't just dismiss it as just lies and propaganda.

But all this talk about peace plans also shows that, you know, the bottom line in all this, the two sides are very far from each other. And basically they're both talking about the same peace plans that they've been talking about for two years. And both of them basically have the same peace plan, which is that the other side should capitulate. So I think we have to understand that for actual peace negotiations to start, one of the sides will have to be in a much harder situation on the battlefield so that they will feel the need to actually make real compromises.

OK, I will end it here. If you found the video helpful or informative, then please give it a like and also subscribe to the channel and click the bell icon to get notifications when I upload new videos. If you want to support the channel, you can subscribe to my newsletter on www.logicofwar.com. Thank you very much for watching and I will see you again next time.