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WHY DO I SAY THAT UKRAINE'S FUTURE IS EXTREMELY BRIGHT?
Now the title of this commentary may seem to be an outrageous statement, but please let me explain.
The "war" will be over in one month... but I suspect much sooner.
Russia's demands to bring Ukraine to the status of a normal nation at ease with her neighbours, with a much improved political future, enormous investment from nations all around, including Russia, and from those further afield also, such as China.
How will this come about?
Russia will not achieve all her demands immediately. Signed agreements that the Ukrainian president and government can and will be held to by Russia will be signed.
Russia will retain the right to strike targets within Ukraine, however once agreement has been reached on all issues this will be on extremist elements only.
Ukraine will tell its military to stand down while Russian troops in the main return eastward to provide a solid defence of both Crimea and the Donbass. A contingent however will remain in the vicinity of Kiev as insurance against any backsliding by the Ukrainian authorities.
Azov Battalion and all other ultranationalist entities will be made illegal entities in Ukraine and a Ukraine-wide publicity campaign will be initiated to achieve public support to downgrade recruitment and reputational support for them. As they are the only ones still fighting (with the Ukrainian army having stood down) only they will be targeted by Russian forces, retaining the right to make strikes anywhere across Ukraine for an agreed limited period, initially perhaps 6 months, or a year at most.
Russia will retain the right to respond to all provocations with the backing of the Ukrainian president and other authorities.
Once the situation is stabilised and a general peace created, then investment will proceed from all sides winning the fruits of peace. Ukraine's economy will begin to grow, peace will encourage tourism and the business environment will become ever more attractive.
The neo-Nazis will inexorably be marginalised, both from the national government of Ukraine bearing down on them along with the Russian military. Slowly but surely the goals of de-nazification and de-militarization of Ukraine will be achieved. It is in the interests of both Russia and Ukraine that this be brought about.
A neutral Ukraine with a minimal or completely disbanded military and no extremist elements or gradually reduced to near zero will be attractive and liberating for all. Ukraine will have more money to spend of projects enhancing the public good and Russia will have security knowing Ukraine will never join NATO.
I would also expect an announcement by Russia of a large sum to be spent in the new Ukraine, perhaps over an initial five-year period. However, the portrayal of all of the above in the West will be Russia-negative, talking of Russian not achieving its goals and perhaps even of a Russian defeat by Ukrainian forces in tandem with West' support. Russia will shrug at this expected framing of things being satisfied that the facts 'on the ground' in truth reflect the success of their extremely needful operation that ultimately benefits both they and the Ukrainian people.
This is how I see things panning out with both sides coming closer in the negotiations currently taking place. I am sure the Russian side is endlessly repeating that something like the above is in prospect. Will Zelenskyy and his people see the win-win situation being offered... or will they choose to fight a losing battle where Ukraine can only lose.
I strongly suspect that ultimately, they will choose the former.