What Is Necessary for the Ukrainian “Sanitary Zone” to Be Sanitary?

Yves here. There is understandably keen interest on where Russia is going with its war in Ukraine and what territorial arrangement it will settle on.

Helmer takes a remark made by Putin in response to a question about Russia taking Kharkiv to prevent attacks on Russia, presumably the current Russian Federation. The wee problem not teased out is that Kharkiv has a considerable presence of ethnic Russians and thus would be almost certainly added to Russia. So then the border that needs to be protected moves west….

Helmer was early to discuss the idea of a demilitarized zone in the context of the electrical grid attacks. Some form of buffer zone is a comparatively clean way to keep nasty NATO types well away from Russian territory. But how to sufficiently empty that large a territory is an open question.

Note importantly in the remarks Helmer is citing, at least per machine translation, Putin made clear that he is depicting this only as an option:

But I do not exclude that, bearing in mind the tragic events taking place today, we will be forced at some point – when we consider it appropriate – to create a certain “sanitary zone” in today’s territories subordinate to the Kiev regime..

The “forced” gives the impression that Putin regards a sanitary zone as a less preferred solution…to what, one wonders?

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

In his election victory speech on Sunday night,  President Vladimir Putin has accepted the 87% Russian voter mandate to finish the war by securing the Novorussian territories east of the Dnieper River, and converting western Ukraine into “a certain sanitary zone in today’s territories subordinated to the Kiev regime.”

In military terms, this zone extends westward from the Dnieper to the full 500-kilometre range of NATO missiles supplied to the Ukrainian forces;  and to the 900-km range of the drones in the current Ukrainian inventory.  With direct flight distance from Odessa to Lvov at 630 kms, and between Kharkov and Lvov of 975 kms, this means that all of the “territories subordinated to the Kiev regime” will become a sanitary zone, demilitarized to the Polish border.

Referring to the HIMARS rocket attacks in the Belgorod region and the proposed evacuation of nine thousand schoolchildren out of range, Putin announced at his campaign headquarters, “I do not exclude that, bearing in mind the tragic events taking place today, we will be forced at some point – when we deem it appropriate — to create a certain sanitary zone in today’s territories subordinated to the Kiev regime.” The president did not specify how soon is “appropriate”,  or  how deep the demilitarized or sanitary zone will be, except that in calculating the depth and taking Russian control of it, the range of weapons includes “first of all, of course, [weapons] of foreign production.” Listen to the press conference here;  read the text.

Demilitarization of the Ukraine has been the strategic objective of the Special Military Operation from the start in February 2022. In several Kremlin meetings last June, Putin foreshadowed a zone variously called a DMZ, buffer zone, or cordon sanitaire.  In a meeting with military correspondents on June 13, 2023, Putin  explainedoperationally. “Here are several solutions: first, bolstering the effectiveness of the counter-battery struggle. But this does not mean that there won’t be missile strikes against our territory. And so if this continues then we will apparently have to consider the issue – and I’m saying this very carefully – of creating a buffer zone on Ukraine’s territory at such a distance from where it could be impossible to reach our territory.”

Mapping the DMZ has been discussed in detail as senior civilian and military officials in Moscow and in the Donbass have publicly discussed the range-of-defence requirement. Follow the archive of maps and operations here.

Now, with the conclusion of the election, Russian military bloggers have begun to voice open criticism of the performance of the military in preventing drone and missile attacks from striking civilians in Belgorod, as well as oil refinery targets up to 900 kms from the border. According to Boris Rozhin (Colonel Cassad), Russian early warning and detection of Ukrainian HIMARS units are effective, but counter-battery and interception firing is delayed. “The reason is organizational issues that prevent timely fire damage to the exposed priority targets.  The issue of their elimination is extremely relevant now: This will not only significantly increase the effectiveness of counter-battery warfare, but also reduce the intensity of enemy strikes on Belgorod and other settlements.”  “Organizational issues” is a code term for the chain of command Rozhin avoids explaining.

Military sources in Moscow have been discreetly acknowledging that the decisions on how far the Russian military operation should extend westwards were postponed during the election campaign. During this time, the sources have also been warning, the Ukrainians were able to construct extensive surface fortifications and command-and-control bunkers north of Chernigov facing an expected offensive drive of Russian forces toward Kiev; and around Odessa to block a Russian offensive in the south.  These lines are reportedly manned by fresh and well-supplied  Ukrainian reserves, who are being held out of the meat-grinder battles along the line of contact, like Bakhmut and Avdeyevka.

Threats to reinforce these new fortified lines with a French-led “coalition” have come from President Emmanuel Macron. In parallel, detailed planning by the German Luftwaffe, backed by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, of long-range Taurus missile attacks, launched from aircraft based outside the Ukraine, has become public knowledge.   In response, a well-informed Moscow source believes the parameters of Russian strategy are becoming clearer “now that Putin is waving the green flag. It’s clear, for example, that although there will not be battles inside cities like Odessa, Kharkov, and Kiev, there cannot be a military outcome for the General Staff and the Kremlin which will allow terrorism against Russia forever from inside those cities,  or from whatever remains of the Ukraine. So there must be regime change in Kiev– and a form of Russian occupation that will be surprising.”

“I am not ready to talk about what, how, and when,” Putin said on Sunday. Likewise, no Russian military source is ready. There is, however, frustration at the delay in the operational decision-making. “It’s not General Patience we’re talking about,” comments a military observer. “It’s General Bullshit. Let’s see if [Chief of the General Staff General Valery] Gerasimov calls it.”

In the one-hour programme on Gorilla Radio, recorded on March 21, Chris Cook leads the discussion. Click to listen.

For the introduction, access to the 20-year Gorilla Radio archive, and Chris Cook’s blog, click here.  For the combined interview show aired on radio stations across Canada, click to listen.  


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. timbers

      Hypersonic missiles attacks that destroy US and NATO factories that produce weapons used to attack Russian civilians. But only when this conflict winds down.

      First verbalize it as a red line clearly and distinctly. Then enforce it w/o exception.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I was thinking more along the lines of hitting underground bunkers that contain large numbers of weapons caches. Certainly, NATO has had plenty of time to construct them in Western Ukraine, and may be building more.

        The side effect will be the radioactivity that will prevent attempts at reconstruction or even habitability.

        A one-off “demo” attack might be instructional to neo-con types.

        1. ambrit

          The only time that nuclear weapons have been used against military targets was in Japan in 1945. This was successful insofar as at the time, Japan had no nuclear weapons of it’s own to use in reply. Today, “everyone” has atomic weapons. Any use of atomics, large or small, will escalate into a general exchange automatically. Every wargame where nukes of any size were introduced followed that pattern.
          So, consider those Russian ‘wonderwaffen’ the Zircons and Kinzals as close approximations of nukes. Conventional, but with similar levels of destructiveness.
          Putin and his ‘advisors’ would be better served by “inviting” the Israeli Exiles to colonize Western Ukraine after they are forced out of the Middle East. The Ukraine was a major Jewish population centre before the Twentieth Century, so why not again? It would also severely discommode the Banderites.

          1. TU202

            It is entirely disingenuous to refer to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as military targets They were cynically chosen because they had the least bomb damage and the effectiveness of the atomic warheads could be verified. They had the least bomb damage precisely because they were civilian cities with minimal military value.

    2. Samuel Conner

      In line with RF caution, I suspect that a superior alternative would be to declare all of rump Ukraine to be a ranged-weapons-free buffer zone, with the exception of a small portion in the uttermost West, where NATO-supplied weapons would be provisionally tolerated. (Concentrating them there would also simplify the task of deleting them if that came to be regarded to be necessary).

      I don’t see how the West could object to RF management of its relationship with rump Ukraine in ways that find long-standing precedent in Israel’s management of its relationship with Lebanon and Syria.

    3. JTMcPhee

      As pointed out by many pros, there’s no such thing as tactical nukes. First use is end game. I doubt the Russian general staff, much less the president, are unaware of that. As to rabid chihuahuas like Kaja Kallas etc., apparently it doesn’t register.

      Sometimes I just sort of wish the Fokkers would pull the triggers and get it over with. The suspense is killing a lot of us mopes. Because it’s pretty clear that the bastards that lie behind the “policies” of the dying West are never going to back down, just keep finding new little cracks and corners to pry apart any currently unsubjugated political economy and suck the wealth out of it.

      I hope Putin and Xi, and whoever follows Putin and Xi, will be able to keep the vampire squids off the faces of humanity.

      1. JonnyJames

        Good point, the use of “nonstrategic” nuclear weapons would simply lead to quick escalation to large-scale ‘strategic’ weapons, ICBMs with MIRVs etc. with obvious catastrophic effects.

        Nuclear First Strike is official US doctrine, no more ABM treaty, no more INF treaty and the NPT is a joke. The danger of full-scale nuclear war has never been greater in our lifetime, yet most take it lightly or even ignore it. The Bush (Wolfowitz) doctrine and the unprecedented, reckless provocations of Russia and China don’t bode well. Yeah, it is a good thing that the likes of Xi and Putin are cool-headed and very cautious.

        The very fact that there are serious conversations about Nuclear Winter mitigating Global Warming reveals the lack of seriousness even many educated display about this issue.

        In a nutshell, the policy of a declining, desperate global empire is “total hegemony or total destruction”. Israel has a “Samson Option”, but the US has an even larger scale version.

    4. Willow

      Why use tactical nukes when you just have to take out the two NPPs in the west? Why’d you think Merkel got rid of Germany’s nuke plants? Nothing to do with Green politics – because nuke plants are a huge liability in a war.

  1. jsn

    “The “forced” gives the impression that Putin regards a sanitary zone as a less preferred solution…to what, one wonders?”

    Perhaps an end to the West’s cranial rectal inversion, either when the sphincter pops the head off and the whole thing dies, or, long shot, we pull our collective heads out.

    1. hk

      The first best scenario for Russia would have been a Europe that was a friendly neutral, nonthreatening militarily and cooperative, to mutual benefit, economically, socially, and culturally. That’s no longer possible for the near future, so the security arrangement will need to be based on force, or a presumption of using force when necessary.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I believe Mr. Putin himself stated recently that any peace proposal has to be both acceptable to Moscow and contain believable guarantees that it’s not just another ploy, and while the first part is achievable he really can’t see at the moment how the West can provide the second part.

        So if I had to guess, I’d say there will be no cordons, sanitaire or otherwise, to end this war. There will be a new security arrangement at least for the Eastern Europe. Something that provably neutralizes NATO long-range attack capability within a buffer zone from the Russian border. Perhaps within the context of a brand new START treaty or something – maybe this time with China entering to make it more palatable to USA (and [Nuland] the EU!).

  2. JonnyJames

    In addition to making Europe weaker and more dependent on the US, the objectives of US foreign policy (crudely put) is to weaken Russia financially and economically, destabilize the country, then “regime change”, then break up the RF into smaller states. However, this looks like the typical hubris of a declining power. Zbig B., for example, outlined much of this back in 1997 in The Grand Chessboard

    This one from Rand (2019) sums it up.

    The Russians, aware of this, are taking slow, cautious steps to achieve their objectives, and it looks like they have been very careful not to overextend, not to over-spend or dedicate too many resources to the SMO in Ukraine. Going forward, I would imagine a similar approach. Successfully achieving those objectives won’t be easy and it seems like Russian leadership must walk a fine line in more ways than one.

  3. Altandmain

    At the end of the day, the Russians are going to be able to set the terms that they want to, as they have the overwhelming military firepower here. It’s going to mean the loss of Kharkov and Odessa, which will be devastating for Ukraine.

    The Europeans are desperate, which is why France is doing what they are doing. Has anyone seen the stream with Garland Nixon that Scott Ritter did this morning?


    Scott makes a very important point. The reality is that France cannot win this conventionally. The danger is that the French and other European nations may do something very dumb if they get into a desperate situation, then escalate once it becomes clear that they cannot stop Russian advances.

    That could very well involve the Europeans attacking Engels Airbase, which the Russians may interpret as a possible Western nuclear attack, for which the Russians will have no choice but to escalate and take out many targets in Europe. Seems to me that there is a very big danger of another Cuban missile crisis style crisis. The danger here is that is this crisis could easily escalate.

    Russia has given the West numerous chances to de-escalate and try and safe face, from the Minsk Accords to the 2021 attempt to negotiate a new European security framework. They did not take them in their greed and real goal, to get a Boris Yeltsin like figure into Russia so that they could steal the nation’s resources and ultimately, Balkanize the nation. That was never going to happen and the West badly underestimated Russia.

    Now it’s become clear that the West is far weaker than they thought they were and the Western leadership class doesn’t know how to handle defeat with grace and to avoid a nuclear exchange. In the case of Macron, he also no doubt fears that his other neocolonial possessions in Africa will revolt like Niger did, which means that France will not have its natural resources it has been stealing now for many years. He is panicking and doing some very rash moves that could lead the world into a nuclear showdown.

    It’s not Russia or China that need regime change. It’s the West. The appalling leadership of the Western elites has gotten us into this nightmare scenario.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Some European countries may be going all bellicose but they probably won’t do anything for a very good reason. The US has told them point blank that they will not back them up by sending in US troops as they are now in the middle of an election cycle. And getting US troops killed in the Ukraine fighting the Russians is definitely an election loser. So people like Macron should sit down and have a nice warm mug of STFU.

      1. Acacia

        All true, though Macron keeps demonstrating that he doesn’t appear to know when to STFU.

    1. hk

      I am curious if the French Foreign Legion is being used to “stop” them, or is it their regular army? I am wondering, given Naryshkin’s remarks the other day, Russians will openly say how many French army troops (not mercenaries, but actual French army) killed with this raid, whether the claims are actually true or not.

      If Macron thinks NATO troops can act as a tripwire, Russians will want to quash the idea early and fast, and claiming destruction of “official” French forces (whether truthfully or otherwise) will make the worms turn.

  4. Aurelien

    The idea of a “cordon sanitaire” comes from disease control. Here, what’s important to understand is that the Russians are after a state of affairs, not some square kilometre of territory. When it was first used in the nineteenth century, the term referred to measures, often enforced by the military, to prevent people who might have infectious diseases from crossing frontiers.

    So it’s the effect that matters, and the effect is that any potential serious attack on Russia from nearby is made difficult to impossible. This doesn’t have to mean physical occupation of territory, as it did after WW2, but rather dominance of space such that no serious attack could ever be organised and launched. Thus, there will probably be a greatly weakened Ukraine, without foreign troops, and without much more than a paramilitary force with helicopters and light armoured vehicles. Surveillance will rapidly spot possible military concentrations, which can be quickly destroyed.

    This shouldn’t be confused with the ability to stop every conceivable form of attack from any direction at any time. No country can do that, and a well-prepared drone attack on a sushi bar in a Moscow suburb can probably succeed from time to time. But after a while, even the West is going to tire of this game, and realise that it’s pointless and will achieve nothing. To the extent that these ideas are still alive, they are symptoms of the West’s inability to comprehend the difference between levels of strategy that I discussed in this article a couple of weeks ago. What Moscow wants is political and military dominance such that even thinking about launching an attack seems silly. It’s not really a question of direct control of terrain.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “even the West is going to tire of the game”?

      I’d say that’s wishful thinking. The Empire is operated by a set of people who have been at this sh!t for over two centuries, at various levels of destructiveness and greed. The Kagan and Clinton and Adelman and Pritzker and Prince set and their friends and accomplices want Russian and Chinese wealth for themselves. And African and South American and… Big dreams by people who dream big and are motivated by insatiable greed and, probably rightly, given how they have warped the political economy’s functioning, fear no consequences or restraint.

      Russ and China leaders will truly have to exercise eternal vigilance, since us imperial slaves in our version of the matrix aren’t about to yank on the reins and take the bit in their teeth.

      1. Aurelien

        Yes, but “these people” will be reduced to making rude faces and having tantrums. They don’t really count any more.

      2. Es s Ce Tera

        I wondered about Prince. Since Russia is a (mostly) Christian nation, and since he’s an anti-Muslim crusader, would he go along with attacking another Christian nation? He is noticeably absent in Ukraine. I wouldn’t be surprised if NATO had hoped to use his mercs…

      3. Michaelmas

        JTMcPhee: The Empire is operated by a set of people who have been at this sh!t for over two centuries, at various levels of destructiveness and greed.

        But also of competence.

        Where US hegemony has declined to now in 2024 thanks to this current set’s utter incompetence could have been postponed till the 2040s by wiser imperial hands.

    2. JonnyJames

      “Cordon Sanitaire” I think was used in an IR context after WWI, to purportedly contain the Bolshevik menace of the USSR. A bit of historical irony.

      Yes, we can expect the West to abandon such policies as it has not, and will not, achieve their stated objectives (not to mention it’s extremely reckless). However, I would think more billions will be transferred from the public coffers into the hands of private interests. Those interests legally bribe legislators (in the US), who approve higher DoD budgets, special weapons appropriations, military aid, etc. From a strictly financial perspective, the policies are quite lucrative for some, as usual. This must provide some powerful incentives, or so it seems. What do you reckon?

    3. Pamina

      Yes, upon reading the original Russian article at www-business–gazeta-ru, I also thought of the term “cordon sanitaire”. If I translated the article from Russian into English using my ever so feeble and fallible, native English speaking human mind I would have selected the term cordon sanitaire, placed it in italics in my translation, and added a translator’s note. The article makes so much more sense with that simple substitution. This explanation of the phrase from wikipedia, of all places, seems appropriate “…it is sometimes used more generally to describe a set of buffer states that form a barrier against a larger, ideologically hostile state”. That is a definition from which I would proceed to delve into all that is entailed with Russian options for the territory after the collapse of the AFU. The English language section of my brain, can’t get past the eradication of vermin, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, or droplet dogma.

  5. David in Friday Harbor

    Remind me again: Why can’t “Ukraine” be a neutral non-aligned confederation like Switzerland or Austria?

    1. Morincotto

      Good question.

      Another one is why have those same countries stopped being neutral even though there are no tangible benefits to doing so?

      1. JTMcPhee

        The “nationalist” mode of thought is now deeply rooted in a significant portion of the remaining population of “Ukraine,” and has never been extirpated from the European body politic or the power players in “the West.” And if somehow Russ managed to sweep all the Nazi roaches out of the entire land of Ukraine, there’s plenty more of the hiSSing bugs swarming in the cabinets of Poland, Rumania and the Baltic pipsqueaks, and the Nordic countries too. Climbing the Swastika Ladder is a great path to power as the economies of those places fail. It’s worse than toenail fungus.

        1. Kouros

          I wouldnt put Romania in the same league as the Poles or the Balts. It is one thing to do US bidding, as a good lapdog (150 years of quasi Ottoman rule has entrnched some habits, especialy if you are allowed to exploit your population to the bone), and another thing to be the tail that wags the dog, like the Baltics or Poles are. The difference is that if push come to shove, the lapdog can choose a different master, a it happened before with Romanians…

      2. Belle

        Switzerland and Austria may lean Westward socially, but not militarily. That’s the major thing.
        And while Switzerland may have put restrictions on some Russian funds, it was a court in Switzerland that debunked the “Russian Doping” myth.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Unfortunately Belle, Switzerland is going full mode in stealing Russia’s money-

          ‘Switzerland has more than $8 billion of Russian state reserves frozen in its financial institutions. The country’s parliament last week voted 21-19 with three abstentions in favor of a series of motions authorizing the government to work on creating a reparations mechanism under international law.

          In addition to the frozen Russian central bank reserves, the Swiss government also froze billions of dollars’ worth of Russian funds and assets owned or controlled by sanctioned persons, companies or entities. The Swiss Bankers Association estimated that in March 2022, Russian clients held approximately 150 billion Swiss francs ($170 billion) in banks in Switzerland. The country has long been a favored destination for wealthy Russians and their assets.’


          it is for reasons like this that the Russians now refuse going to that so-called peace conference in Switzerland. They are now considered by them to be a hostile nation.

          1. CA


            December 10, 1999

            Panel Finds Switzerland Complicit in Holocaust
            By William Drozdiak – Washington Post 

            BERLIN – An international panel of historians declared today that Switzerland was guilty of acting as an accomplice to the Holocaust when it refused to accept many thousands of fleeing Jews, and instead sent them back to almost certain annihilation at the hands of the Nazis.

            In a hard-hitting report commissioned three years ago by the Swiss government to re-evaluate the nation’s wartime role, the nine-member panel said it had unearthed records proving that Switzerland “declined to help people in mortal danger” when it rejected at least 24,500 Jews between January 1940 and the end of World War II.

            Describing their findings as “a lesson for all humanity,” the historians condemned the practices of the Swiss government at the time, accusing wartime officials of pursuing an inhumane policy sharply at odds with the country’s tradition of offering asylum for those facing persecution.

            The massive 956-page study follows a separate independent investigation into the practices of Swiss banks by an international panel headed by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker that was released Monday. That group uncovered nearly 54,000 dormant accounts linked to Holocaust victims – a number far greater than the banks ever acknowledged in the past…

    2. Mikel

      Because it’s smash and grab time imperialists and all you’ll find in the middle of the road is roadkill.

  6. Synoia

    Because if Neutral, the goodies and Money from the belligerent west will not be paid (in Swiss Banking Accounts).

  7. The Rev Kev

    What is necessary for such a zone? Men with beards perhaps. I would imagine a large zone constantly patrolled by ground patrols & drones and any troops or military equipment found would be instantly attacked and annihilated.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    I think the idea of some sort of ‘no mans land’ zone of tens of km width is not realistic. The Houthis have proven that you don’t need high tech to a drone or crude ballistic missile 500km or more. So constant harassment of Russian held territory would be possible even by a militia based somewhere like Lvov, not necessarily NATO or whatever rump Ukrainian government is left. Providing full air cover from random drones would be massively expensive – it would mean either bringing down $10,000 drones with very expensive S-500 systems, or covering every possible target with close range Pansir or similar system. It would be prohibitively expensive and probably not possible to prevent every attack.

    Plus, once the zone vegetates into a thick scrub/forest, it would require a huge amount of monitoring to prevent infiltration – this would mean stationing multiple divisions along what would be a border of hundreds of km long. Even Israel doesn’t attempt this level of security along its northern border, it’s just not practical.

    The question of the line of the border is an interesting one. The obvious boundaries are watercourses, in particular the Dnieper. The problem with rivers as borders is that they are good tactical defensive boundaries, but terrible strategic borders, as major rivers need intensive monitoring. Someone has to look after the dams, irrigation systems, flood control, water abstraction, fisheries, pollution, etc. This is why most boundaries follow watersheds, not rivers. How would Russia prevent Ukraine simply dumping Kievs sewage into the Dnieper if they wanted to cause trouble? They could hardly complain, given how much damage they’ve done to the power infrastructure. So Russia will need to take control of as much of both sides of the river as possible.

    So I don’t foresee any sort of dramatic deep border, even if it would be an incredible boon for wildlife. While Ukraine is relatively flat, one thing we’ve seen in this war is that even quite low ridge lines can be very effective fire control features – this is one reason i think why the predicted collapse of Ukrainian lines east of Bakhmut never happened when the city fell – the line of hills east of the town still presented a significant obstacle once there is a clear line of sight established for defenders.

    My guess is that the Russians will follow existing Oblast boundaries, which if you look closely at maps generally follow watersheds, even very shallow ones, and what passes for ridges in that region. A Korean DMZ style boundary would almost certainly be prohibitively expensive to build and maintain – it will be a relatively modest high fence with watchtowers and minefields – similar to what Israel tends to use outside the core Palestinian areas. Even if a deal is not reached, history indicates that local commanders have no interest in getting killed in meaningless incursions or attacks, so localised rules of combat become semi-formalised. There may be a problem with ‘deniable’ attacks – in a collapsed Ukraine there could well be semi-independent militias all over the rump state following their own agenda. I don’t think there will even be that much ongoing monitoring – this will just be too much of a drain on resources and will never work against random terror type attacks – this is just a reality the region is facing.

    You may even find a situation similar to the Aksai Chin in Northern India/China, where disputed boundaries are marked by formalised but relatively non-lethal combat – both sides have informally agreed that soldiers are not armed with guns, leading to some pretty brutal fights with clubs and knives. There is a quasi no-go area along this boundary, but it’s not patrolled intensely, but there is no need for that given how remote and inaccessible it is. It’s quite possible to blunder into it accidentally, as I once did when mountain bike touring in the area. The soldiers were friendly enough, but there was an ‘edge’ to things that made it distinctly uncomfortable.

    Since it seems highly likely that there will be no formal settlement over a new boundary, what we’ll see is the Russians enforcing a line, most likely following existing administrative boundaries. Local commanders of whatever sort will come up with the rules of engagement to keep things relatively quiet. Attempts to attack civilian cities from within Ukraine will be met with a pretty brutal response, eventually the message will get through. Local pragmatism almost always wins over in these situations whatever politicians in grand capitals like to decide.

  9. SocalJimObjects

    There are many smart people in Russia, there is also a ton of very smart people in China, put them together in one room and figure out how to crash the American stock markets for good, because the US at this point is just a huge capital market with a “country” attached. Destroy the former and the later will collapse to the point of near dissolution. Best sanitary zone ever, guaranteed to last for one generation at least. Ukraine is small peanuts, you have to take care of the problem at the root.

  10. BrooklinBridge

    Since the US and its coterie of beggars are agreement incapable, and since Putin is well aware of this, I find it hard to visualize a solution in Ukraine where any rump state is granted autonomy from Russian oversight as well as strict rules and enforcement regarding military buildup, and stockpiles. I don’t see how it would work. The minute peace is declared, the US will be in there overnight like an anal infection, painful and hell to get rid of.

Comments are closed.