Unfortunately, the West does not want Ukraine to fully defeat Russia. Before the invasion was the universal assumption in the West that Ukraine was doomed and would only be able to survive through guerilla warfare. The heroic ZSU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) stunned an entire world in being able to hold back against the Russian invaders. Before the war did Germany even refuse to supply weapons to Ukraine but this quickly changed when the Germans saw how successful the Ukrainians were militarily. The West’s attitude is strongly influenced by postmodern military doctrine which assumes that the concept of victory is outdated as well as by conflict resolution literature with its bias for armed conflicts to have negotiated outcomes. This is similar to the international attitude against Israel which similarly does not believe in Israeli victory and is looking for a negotiated outcome which however neither side is sincerely interested in, each for their own realist reasons. The international community typically tries to end Israel’s wars before Israel attains victory and the same attitude is on display in Ukraine.
If Russia was interested in a negotiated outcome would it not have tried to conquer the entire Ukraine in the first place. While it is certainly true that recent Russian conquests in Ukraine have strengthened Moscow’s hand in negotiations with Kyiv, this is surely not the reason Russia launched this war in the first place. If that was the objective, then Russia could endorse an immediate ceasefire which they obviously will not despite the stalemate between the sides. The Kremlin launched this war on advice from the GRU because Russia needs to become a superpower in order to become able to defend Siberia against a future Chinese invasion and the only way to achieve that is to conquer Europe from Poland to Ireland.
Why then does Moscow participate in peace talks with Kyiv? Russian intelligence is highly sophisticated and understands that the West seeks to contain the conflict. By disingenuously participating in peace talks with the Ukrainians are the Russians giving the West false hope that a negotiated outcome is possible and the successful Russian strategy is to dissuade the West from arming the Ukrainians other than with defensive weapons that have helped produce the current stalemate. The West on its part thinks its strategy is successful in helping hold back Russia while “negotiations” between Kyiv and Moscow are ongoing.
Contrary to the current perception by Western governments, this strategy is both dangerous and unsuccessful. A ZSU liberation of every inch of sovereign Ukrainian territory will not lead to WWIII, rather it will successfully avoid WWIII by persuading Russia that it cannot militarily defeat NATO. Victory in Ukraine is absolutely imperative for dissuading Russia from attacking NATO.
The ZSU will anyway in the end liberate all Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, but refraining from arming Ukraine other than with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, will cost Ukrainian civilians dearly in leading to a drawn-out conflict and immense and completely avoidable civilian suffering in Ukraine. Russia has no interest in a negotiated outcome as it started this war in order to conquer the entire Ukraine as the first step in its planned conquest of the entire Europe. By arming the Ukrainians with a wide range of sophisticated weaponry could the war be quickly decided and all Russian-occupied territories be far more rapidly liberated.
The foot-dragging on account of bizarre academic theories without connection to the current conflict must end and there must be a comprehensive arming of Ukraine. If the West is serious about preventing mass civilian suffering and ending this war, they must understand that this war will only end by the full liberation of all Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.