There are some very positive developments from the peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in Istanbul. Observers have noted that there has been the most progress made since the peace talks began.
The conflict has been devastating for both sides. It is difficult to get accurate casualty estimates from either side, but it is certain that losses have not been insignificant.
The peace negotiations got off to a rocky start when there were accusations of foul play against the participants.
It is unclear what was the intent behind the poisoning, or who was responsible. If the intended aim was to torpedo the talks, then the plan failed.
That was not the only drama surrounding the negotiations. Ukraine executed one of its people for treason claiming he was a Russian spy.
It is an achievement that talks continued at all.
Russia has tentatively agreed to scale back some of its operations near the capital city of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. Although there is optimism about the possibility of a cease fire, there are ominous signs that Russia intends to ratchet up operations.
Russian males are required to serve in the army through the country’s conscription program. The draft, however, is a new development. It signals that Russia is not giving up on pacifying Ukraine.
Putin has shown great resolve, despite the entire Western world imposing economic sanctions and the United States banning Russian energy.
The Russian President has even gone on the economic offensive. He has set a Friday deadline, after which his country’s oil can only be purchased with Rubles, Gold or Bitcoin. This move threatens America’s monopoly as the reserve currency for energy and could signal trouble for the Petrodollar. It cannot be overstated how devastating this would be for the U.S. economy.
It is in the best interest of all sides for the conflict in Ukraine to end quickly. Russia’s conscription of new soldiers back home, however, suggests the possibility of a longer conflict.