Russia and Ukraine may never sign a peace treaty but remain in a perpetual state of unresolved conflict even after fighting subsides, Ukraine’s top intelligence chief warned.
Speaking to the NV Ukrainian news magazine, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR), Kyrylo Budanov painted a bleak picture of the conflict between his country and Russia, warning of a protracted war in Eastern Europe.
Budanov said that he believes that Moscow will never agree to sign a peace treaty with Kyiv and therefore even if the active fighting in the war turns cold, the situation could remain unresolved, pointing to the example of Russia and Japan still technically being at war after never formally agreeing to peace after World War II.
“The Russians will not sign any agreements with Ukraine… this scenario is very likely here,” the Ukrainian intel chief said, adding: “There are instances in history where longstanding wars between states have remained legally unresolved. A clear example is the situation between the Russian Federation and Japan.”
While Budanov cast doubt on Vladimir Putin’s willingness to come to a peace accord, it is also questionable if President Volodymyr Zelensky would be willing to enter talks as well. Zelensky has said that a pre-requisite for negotiations would be for Moscow to agree to relinquish all territories outside of the 1991 borders agreed upon following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This would mean the return of not only the areas of the Donbas but also Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014. The contested areas are predominately populated by Russian-speaking people who voted in favour of joining the Russian Federation, although international observers questioned the validity of the elections. The demand would likely be a non-starter for the Kremlin.
It also remains to be seen whether Zelensky would be willing to abandon aspirations of his country joining the American-led NATO military alliance, the prospect of which was cited by the Kremlin as a principal motivation for last year’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month speaking to U.S. media, the Ukrainian leader said that while he does not want to continue the war forever, “we are not ready to give our freedom to this fucking terrorist, Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting.”
Whether or not Ukraine can continue the fight may not be up to Zelensky, however, given that his military is heavily reliant on weapons and money sent from the United States and European powers.
Although Germany announced this week that it would be doubling its military aid to Kyiv next year, it is unclear if President Joe Biden will be able to convince Congress to approve his desired additional $61.4 billion aid to Ukraine on top of the $113 billion in taxpayer dollars already committed to funding the proxy war.
So far, House Republicans have rejected the White House’s demands, however, the Democrat president has been trying to force through the measure by tying Ukraine funding to a bill to provide emergency aid to Israel in the wake of the Hamas terror attacks on the country last month.