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The End Game: Russia-Ukraine conflict

Russia has primary responsibility for finding a peaceful settlement with Ukraine Russian forces have destroyed all bridges over the Donets River, connecting the city to its sister city, Lysychansk In the Battle of Severodonetsk, in the eastern part of the Donbas, where Ukrainian forces still hold defensive positions. More than 80% of Ukraine is ruled by Russia leaving the rest 20% without supplies. Suppose Russia occupied Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. In that case, the entire Luhansk oblast would be in his hands, allowing him to march on Kramatorsk, the last industrial city in Donbas still with Ukraine. In retaliation, Ukrainian forces have used artillery to inflict heavy damage on Russian troops in Severodonetsk. Authorities in Kyiv say 200 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed every day and that the army is running out of shells and ammunition. While these public statements compel Western allies to increase arms supplies, they also paint a bleak picture of the situation in the East. Despite their courageous resistance in the north and northeast, which forced Russia to retreat around Kyiv and Kharkiv, the Ukrainians never gave the Russians a chance to push into the Donbas.

The West's strategy is twofold. Money and weapons have been sent to Ukraine to resist Russian aggression, and strict sanctions have been imposed on Moscow to make the war economically painful. Arming Ukraine has certainly slowed Russia's progress (the war has caused great damage), but it has failed to stop the Russian war machine. Russia has occupied most of the major cities in the east and south, including Mariupol, Berdynsk and Kherson, and Severodonetsk may be next. Economic sanctions have had a mixed effect. Russia has been hit hard by sanctions, and its economy is expected to shrink by 8.5% this year. But, at the same time, it is being affected by high oil and gas prices, while on the other hand, rising inflation has hit the global economy. And Ukraine's economy, needless to say, is collapsing. As the "arms and clearance" approach fails in its objectives, other options for ending the war must be explored. Russia and the US, France, Germany and Turkey have maintained some lines of communication with Moscow and Kyiv between the extraordinary positions taken. These countries should push both sides forward for talks and try to revive the new proposal where all sides get something and lose something in exchange for peace. Ending the conflict is vital not only for Ukraine but also for a world plagued by rising prices of everything from food to fuel. Russia, whose aggression has pushed the world to the brink of catastrophic security and economic crisis, is primarily responsible for ending this war through political compromise.

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