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  • Writer's pictureUnited Ukraine

Ihor Petrenko: "Thank you is not equivalent to hundreds of tanks"

Ihor Petrenko, Ph.D. and expert at United Ukraine, shared his impressions of the last meeting in the Ramstein format. To support the oppositional forces to Putin, he suggested that the partners of Ukraine create a fund in the Russian Federation with the tentative name Democratic Russia, promising to give the funds to the new democratic government in the Russian Federation.

There were a lot of expectations from the last meeting in the Ramstein format. First, most expected a resolution regarding the supply of tanks to Ukraine. The most daring supposed there would be more objectivity in the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine. In general, the meeting was successful, and the new aid packages for Ukraine are proof of this. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the new military aid would allow Ukraine to advance.

Whether it's true, we will leave it to the discretion of the military. But still, there is a slow-down with the supply of Leopard. The delivery of long-range missiles and F-16 fighter jets, which Zelensky called upon in the speech before the meeting, does not yet have concrete outlines. Of course, the situation can change quickly. Once upon a time, we could not even imagine receiving Patriot and HIMARS air defense systems. However, all these maneuvers and agreements regarding the supply of certain types of weapons must be taken into account when determining the time limits of the war.

Meanwhile, Russia is preparing for a protracted war. It is currently trying to rebuild the economy on a military basis. It continues to produce weapons and ammunition, albeit in limited quantities. Russia also considers mobilization formats and calculates possible risks. However, the Russians might not have enough equipment for all the new conscripts. Most likely, Russia is preparing for more active actions in Ukraine in 2024. This year, they will try to hold the front and prepare reserves for a new round of aggression.

In general, one should recognize that, at the moment, the price of concessions for Putin is higher than the price of continuing the war. Of course, Putin would agree to freeze the conflict in its current state. He could sell it as a "land corridor to Crimea" and "the killing of a significant number of NATO Banderas". However, this is not acceptable for Ukraine. President Zelensky clearly stated our goal, which is the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity. I think nearly 100% of Ukrainians support this. At the same time, no matter how much we would like it, Russia won't give up, make concessions, or collapse. The Kremlin still has the resources to continue her aggression.

Therefore, it is necessary to continue working on increasing the price of persistent aggression for Putin. For that, Ukraine needs sanctions and new weapons. The McFaul-Yermak international group has already developed many proposals to increase sanctions pressure on Russia. We must constantly lobby new sanctions against the Russian Federation and remember that Russia will look for ways to circumvent them. Therefore, it is worth creating a precedent of punishment for cooperation with the Russian Federation by third parties. Otherwise, the sanctions policy risks turning into an imitation, a very expensive imitation for our state.

The formula for approaching the end of the war is simple: increasing the sanctions pressure + the latest weapons for Ukraine = increasing the price of aggression for Russia. However, this is not enough for sustainable peace, if the latter can exist between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. For this, it is necessary to demilitarize Russia, or at least Ukraine's border with it, to overcome the Putin regime and no matter how wild it sounds now, to democratize this barbarian country with an imperial complex. At the same time, to stimulate the opposition to Putin, it could be beneficial to create a fund with the tentative name Democratic Russia and promise to give these funds to the new democratic government in the Russian Federation. The sums there should be significant. I think that such a carrot would interest some in the Kremlin towers.

In general, the Russian war against Ukraine has entered a phase of protracted confrontation. We are already fighting a war of attrition, which we must realize and build our lives accordingly.

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