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Will Zelenskyy fight … give in … sell out?

Will Zelenskyy fight … give in … sell out?

There are three theories floating around the media sphere regarding the eventual end of the Ukraine War.  The first is that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will never surrender to any of the demands of Russian Madman Vladimir Putin.  In the extreme, those proffering this opinion is that Zelensky will not settle for going back to the pre-invasion situation with Russia controlling the Crimea and extending hegemony over the Donbass Region.

The second speculation is that Zelenskyy will have to make some concessions – that Putin will not give up without minimally a face-saving “victory.”  Then there are those who believe that at some point, Zelenskyy will cut a deal with Putin – perhaps even having Putin bribe the Ukrainian leader.  In that case, Putin would get some real victories.

The latter two assume that in the long run – and despite the impressive showing of the Ukrainian defense forces – Putin has the power to win the War.

Recently, there are reports that some sort of peace agreement is being advanced – actually put into words.  Another report indicated that there is a now “probability” of a meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin to close the deal.  The Putin people are not so optimistic.

All things considered, I think that is undue optimism or merely propaganda talk.  The obstacles to an agreement at this time are more than enormous.  They are virtually insurmountable.  In the first place, there would have to be a cease-fire.  Any agreement would have to be voted on by the Ukrainian people.  And the sides are so far apart on the basic issues that resolution cannot happen unless … unless Zelenskyy completely folds.  That would certainly give suspicion to option three above.

So, what are the issues that need to be settled?

  1. Zelenskyy has already indicated that he would give up the option of joining NATO.  NATO is not an important issue since it is unlikely that the Alliance would accept Ukraine’s application for the foreseeable future.  But still count this as a small victory for Putin.    

BUT … Zelenskyy wants a rock-solid defense agreement from the western nations – and Turkey and Italy have already said they would do that.  Since one of the most important provisions of the NATO treaty is mutual defense (Article 5 – an attack on one is an attack on all), Ukraine would have the existential protection without official membership.  And Zelenskyy still wants admission into the European Union – meaning that Ukraine officially shifts to the west.  That is a big loss for Putin’s dream of restoring the old Soviet evil empire and uniting the Slavic people.

  1. The land issues.  Zelenskyy has been insisting that Russian troops must leave Ukraine – all of Ukraine.  He does not get too specific, but it is reasonable to assume that he means the Crimea and the Donbass regions, as well.  That would mean more than a draw.  The Ukrainians will have totally defeated Russia and totally humiliated Putin.  Russian negotiators have indicated that returning the control of the Crimea to Ukraine is non-negotiable.  If Putin can retain the Crimea and get an agreement that cedes the Donbass Region to Russia, that would be a HUGE victory for him.
  1. Another issue are the sanctions.  If the shooting stops – and Putin gets some wins in the final agreement – does the west remove the sanctions?  The idea of sanctions is to punish Putin for all the bad things he has done.  Remember that sanctions are not used to deter, but to punish – and President Biden has told us.  To lift the sanctions would be like letting a criminal go free on the promise that he would not commit the crime again.

And along with the sanctions is the question of war crimes.  Would a peace agreement include a provision not to pursue the murders of thousands of people?  You have at least 300 mostly women and children murdered while taking refuge in that theater in Mariupol.  In fact, the entire brutal attack on that city could be considered a war crime.  Also, the carnage in Bucha.

If the lifting of sanctions and the lack of war crime prosecution is part of a peace agreement, Putin wins BIG.

  1. And then there is one issue that I have not seen discussed by all those experts on the telly.  Reparations.  Will a peace agreement include making Russia compensate Ukraine for all the damage Putin did?  Not only the physical damage to the buildings and infrastructure, but compensation for those innocent civilians who died in Putin’s maniacal scorched earth bombing and war crimes.

And should Putin be held accountable for all the damage he did to the world economy?  One option could be surrendering a portion of Russia’s oil to the world market to drastically reduce prices.

Returning the Crimea to Ukraine and boot the Russian Navy out of the Crimean port facilities could be seen as a form of reparations – or punishment.


The problem with a negotiated agreement is that Putin is more likely than not to get away with murder … literally.  The only just outcome is total defeat.  The Russian army in Ukraine must be pounded and pounded until they retreat to Mother Russia.  That is why NATO, the European Union and the rest of the free world MUST provide Ukraine with all the support necessary to defeat Putin – including the possibility of military intervention.  There is no such thing as a compromise or a stalemate.  That is just another word that means “Putin wins.”

Unfortunately, the pointy-headed, pin-striped diplomats – along with their wimpish heads-of-state – do not seem to have victory in their vocabulary.  My answer to the headline question is that Zelenskyy will not give in or sell-out … unless the western democracies do so first.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Perry

    I believe that he’s in it for keeps.

  2. Frank stetson

    Game over; Joe told us that the Z-man sold out and will sacrifice the Ukrainian army.

  3. AcO

    In the main, Larry painted the picture putting Putin in the center. He began it by mustering more and more military on Russia’s border with Ukraine lying that he had no intention of invading his neighbor. Soon after he thought the West had been lulled into belief and proceeded with his air strikes pummeling Ukraine attempting the fall and capture of it Capital and ultimately in stall a puppet government and a governor loyal to Putin himself.
    His best laid plan turned out not as he believed and in the span of time he counted on,
    On top of all that had transpired these past 6 weeks questions abound whether he has been informed that the war is actually going worse for his military than even western media has shown.
    Does he understand there are and will be harsh consequences attached to his assault on Ukraine?
    Of course not, he is like the person who’s wonton actions in shooting innocent people by the dozens and feeling no remorse afterward. This person did not weigh the consequences of his actions. The person does the killing out of some form of insanity. More often than not, suicide by police or self inflicted ends responsibility. That being a last resort, if escape is not available.
    Putin is under the misconception that he is untouchable and safe personally. No western power will dare set foot on Russian soil for capturing him. He is not of sound mind as required for meaningful negotiations. An autocrat does not equivocate nor settle for terms other than those of his making. As the world has witnessed, not one once of moral fabric is found in him or a democratic bone part of his body.
    Given the Russian people’s history, they have endured autocrats, despots, thieves, murderers, and others worse. Each succeeding tyrannical ruler inspired revolution among the common people. The people brought down the established power, often with the military’s inside help.
    This war of Putin’s making is going badly;, morality among the groups is reported to be wavering, and soldier are not appreciating being lied to by officers. Propaganda Putin generates will not long cover what is truly going on in Ukraine. Russians have traditional and kindred ties with Ukraine. Putin’s rein of fear can not last when the Russian people fear a future with him more than they fear his reprisals.
    Putin should consider how Hitler’s end came. History does repeat. It does not forget past payment for atrocities done to the unsuspecting, women, children, and youths still at home.
    The world nations should trust only the real truth, Putin will ever and always be as he has always been an untrustworthy individual. Someone everyone must understand in dealing with him, do not turn your back, he will take advantage and strike ruthlessly.
    Russia imploding under the determination of its citizenry not willing to be used by Putin’s regime and his self important schemes.


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