Since late February, Russian forces have been actively invading Ukraine. This has been a global conflict since other countries have become involved in sending aid to Ukraine and placing sanctions on Russia. The scale of this has sparked global fear of an expansion of the war to other parts of the world. Additionally, the ruthless tactics of the Russians, including the killing of civilians, have brought greater attention to the events unfolding.
In late March, peace talks began between the two countries. Ukraine entertained the secession of some territories to Russia in exchange for security and the scaling back of Russian military action. Russia agreed to this and stated that they would be focusing on taking separatist territory already declared as independent in Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine is also considering formally conceding the territories currently occupied by Russia.
While the success of these peace talks would be very important in ending the conflict, many are skeptical of Russia’s true intentions. There are a few different theories for why they may be entertaining these negotiations. First, it may be a decoy to give the Russian military time to recover for another offensive attack. Ukrainian forces have not succumbed easily to Russian invasions, which has caused them to lose more troops and resources than they anticipated. This may have put them in a position in which they have no choice but to negotiate, or are preparing to come back even stronger than before. This could also be because the Russians are only focusing on the territories that are rich in oil, which they would receive in the negotiations.
Skepticisms will remain until the actions of Russia meet their claims. The Secretary of State of the United States has said, “There is what Russia says and there’s what Russia does,” adding, “and what Russia is doing is the continued brutalization of Ukraine and its people.” President Joe Biden has affirmed that until Russia has made clear and decisive actions towards peace, the sanctions placed would remain.