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Let that sink in: 76 years after the combat of World War II ended, talks to finally declare peace between Russia and Japan collapsed late last month.
The two nations never reached a treaty because Russia refused to give up four islands the Soviet Union seized off the north coast of Japan in 1945.
Last week, missile attacks continued to pound Ukraine’s cities, despite a claim by the Russians that they were refocusing their strategy on warfare in the eastern part of the country. No one knows how the war will unfold and either side could win, but the chances may be good that it too will eventually become a frozen conflict.
That’s another frozen conflict, even though hostilities in the Korean War ended on July 27, 1953.
“For a brief moment this week, it seemed vaguely possible that Russia might ease its brutal onslaught in parts of Ukraine,” wrote Frida Ghitis.
“After Russian envoys spoke to a Ukrainian delegation in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, the Russian deputy defense minister announced that Moscow would draw back its forces and ‘drastically reduce military activity’ around the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv to boost ‘mutual trust.’
“But those who have been paying close attention to Russia under its leader Vladimir Putin knew better than to take their word for it.”
Can Putin’s word be trusted, Ghitis asked.
“How do you negotiate with an interlocutor who lies routinely, repeatedly and without compunction? How do you negotiate with a regime that has a decades-long track record of breaking its international commitments?”
Luce noted that “Few believe Putin is ever likely to drop his ultimate ambition of swallowing Ukraine. Any deal, let alone a ceasefire, should thus be treated as a tactical pause.”