After three weeks of intense fighting, both Ukraine and Russia realise that a prolonged war is not in either country’s best interests. Eventually, both countries will have to reach a compromise and here is how it might look.
Diplomats from Ukraine and Russia are attempting to negotiate a peace settlement to find a speedy and lasting end to the ongoing violence, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and soldiers on both sides. The two countries have also expressed optimism that a 15-point deal can be reached soon.
Many experts and high-ranking officials from the West and Russia anticipate the draft peace agreement to cover the following contentious issues:
- Implementation of a complete ceasefire.
- Ukraine’s relationship with NATO.
- Russian forces would withdraw from Ukrainian territory.
There is still optimism despite ongoing Russian bombings of Ukrainian cities, a verbal spat between Moscow and Washington, and Western sanctions on the Russian economy. The US, NATO and other Western countries have shown uncompromising support for Ukraine by sending it humanitarian and military aid. US Vice President Joe Biden recently referred to Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal,” a remark that the Kremlin described as “unacceptable and unforgivable.”
The recent bombardment of a theatre sheltering hundreds of people in the strategic port of Mariupol might jeopardise the talks. According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, over a hundred people had been rescued from the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where civilians were taking refuge in the besieged city.
Another sign of positive progress is that for the first time since the Russian offensive began on February 24, an interaction between US and Moscow took place on Wednesday. Although the full details of the conversation between the two country’s top national security advisers are unknown, there is an indication that a diplomatic approach to resolving the issue is also gaining pace.
However, some Western diplomats continue to stand firm against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it “unprovoked and unacceptable aggression.” With US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accusing Russia of committing war crimes, any prospect of resolving the problem through dialogue may be lost. His latest remarks echo comments by US President Joe Biden, who, earlier on Wednesday, labelled Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”.
Here’s what a negotiated peace deal between Russia and Ukraine would look like:
- The draft of a peace plan for Ukraine suggests that the country will drop plans to be a part of NATO and accept neutral military status, similar to Sweden or Austria. “Ukraine is offering an Austrian or Swedish version of a neutral, demilitarised state, but at the same time a state with its own army and navy,” said Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chief negotiator for peace talks.
- Since February 24, Russia has taken over significant territories between southern and eastern Ukraine and some areas in the north. The draft of a Russian-Ukrainian peace deal has no clear word on Crimea’s annexation by Russia and the status of separatist regions in the Donbas region. According to Ukraine’s advisor to the President, Mr Mykhailo Podolyak, these issues could be “compartmentalised” for discussion at a different setting after a concrete ceasefire is agreed upon.
- According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the draft agreement also states that Ukraine will protect and codify the cultural sensitivity of the Russian-speaking minority, including their linguistic rights.
Real progress in negotiations towards a political solution that ensures Ukraine’s security while keeping it out of NATO is only feasible if both sides cease accusing each other of prolonging the process.
First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade
- The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
- Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”
Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession
- The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession.
- The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned.
- President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%.
- Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US.
Russia cuts Germany’s Gas Supply causing Prices to Soar ￼
- Over the course of the Russian-Ukrainian War, Russia began to slowly cut off Germany’s gas supply through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
- Before the war, over half of Germany’s gas came from Russia. By the end of June it was reduced to a quarter of its normal captivity, and now it operates at less than a fifth of it.
- Russia’s energy firm Gazprom has stated that this need to cut off Germany’s gas supply was due to maintenance work on a turbine that is needed. Critics have disagreed, claiming that Russia is using it’s gas as a ploy to cause terror to Europe.
- The cut of Gas supply to Germany and other central European countries has caused gas prices to rise almost 2%, causing the trade to close to a record high similar to that of when Russia invaded Ukraine.
- While Germany scrambles to find a solution to this, Poland states it will be fully independent from Russia by the end of the year in order to avoid blackmail from Russia.
Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany
- Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work.
- Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
- Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
- The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”
‘Effects of nuclear war globally catastrophic’, new study warns.
A nuclear war could lead to a ‘nuclear ice age’, plummeting global temperatures, eradicating a vast proportion of sea life and largely implicating global food security, a new study indicates.
Researchers at Louisiana State University in the US conducted several computer simulations in an Earth System Model to assess the impacts of regional and global nuclear wars on oceans. The study, which examined the potential consequences of
conflicts between the US and Russia, as well as Pakistan and India, revealed that in every scenario, smoke and soot from firestorms would release into the upper atmosphere, obstructing the sun and plunging temperatures at an average of 13F (-11C) within just one month.
Cheryl Harrison, assistant professor and lead author of the study, said the impact would be all-consuming.
“It doesn’t matter who is bombing whom. It can be India and Pakistan or NATO and Russia. Once the smoke is released into the upper atmosphere it spreads globally and affects everyone,” she told Bloomberg.
“We can and must, however, do everything we can to avoid nuclear war. The effects are too likely to be globally catastrophic,” she added.
The simulations involved testing the impacts of the US and Russia bombing cities and industrial sites with 4, 400 nuclear weapons weighing 100 kilotons or Pakistan and India detonating 500 of the explosives.
Alan Robock, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, said he hoped the study would “encourage” greater action to thwart the threat.
“Nuclear warfare results in dire consequences for everyone. World leaders have used our studies previously as an impetus to end the nuclear arms race in the 1980s, and five years ago to pass a treaty in the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons. We hope that this new study will encourage more nations to ratify the ban treaty.”
The research warned that a US and Russia conflict may lead to permanent increased Artic sea ice extent and volume.
A UN report also warned of the rapid “global collapse” of civilisations, partially induced by global conflicts, unless urgent steps were taken to address the issue.
The latest American study follows a warning to British troops by the army’s top general to prepare to “deter Russian aggression with the threat of force”. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russia Foreign Minister, Sergie Lavrov said a Third World War would involve nuclear weapons and destruction would not be limited to Eastern Europe.
Ocean temperatures could fall, and sea ice expand by six million square miles, affecting trading as major ports, such as Tianjin in China would be occluded.
Reversing the damage would take decades, the study warned.
A report from the thinktank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that the global nuclear arsenal, since the cold war, is expected to increase drastically in the next few years and reversal this amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine is unlikely.
John Erath, senior policy director for the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, warned earlier that NATO was only capable of blocking an “extremely limited attack” if Russia were to launch a ballistic missile.
As record temperatures hit the UK, scientists claim that frequent and intense heatwaves are the result of human-induced climate change.
Key Ports in Ukraine are Severely Attacked from Russian Missiles
- According to Ukrainian reports, the city of Odessa was severely attacked, even though Russia agreed to not target any ports with grain shipment.
- These products are vital to fight against the global food crises and caught on fire after the attack, in which Russia claimed they had nothing to do with the attack.
- Russia attacked a key port after the signature of the Istanbul Agreement and agreed with Ukraine to ease the exportation of grain.
- As a result of Russia’s actions, Ukrainian forces have utilised new US missile supplies to target the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson, which would harshly impact the Russian supply if the bridge was destroyed.
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