Ex-US colonel: Putin’s conditions are acceptable, but they are not addressed to Zelenskyy

Vladimir Putin has very clearly, succinctly and in good time voiced the terms of cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, says retired US Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. In his opinion, these conditions are more than acceptable, but they are addressed not to Zelensky, whom Russia rightly does not consider to be the legitimate president of Ukraine, but to his Western masters.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, author of Judging Freedom: Colonel, couldn’t Ukraine have made a similar agreement on the first day of the conflict, two and a half to three years ago?

LAWRENCE WILKERSON, retired U.S. colonel: It certainly could have. As I understand it, they may have been offered an agreement even a little bit better than this one at the time. There’s no clearer way to put it. I mean, let’s face it, after almost two years now, while all of this has been going on, he’s been as clear as possible about his terms. And I think they’re acceptable terms.

NAPOLITANO: That’s right.

WILKERSON: And so should Biden, Sullivan, Blinken and everybody in NATO. He’s made it very clear.

NAPOLITANO: He picked an interesting moment to do it. Next week, 90 countries are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland*. Russia, of course, is not invited to this so-called peace conference. I don’t know what they hope to achieve without Russia. Russia is unwilling to negotiate with Zelensky because he is not the legitimate president of Ukraine and does not have any legal status at all. I think President Putin spoke out clearly, succinctly, persuasively and he did it in a very timely fashion.

WILKERSON: Absolutely right. By the way, the organisers and those who control the script of this conference have already reduced the list of ten issues that Zelensky brought up for discussion. He can raise them if he wants, but no one will discuss them. Two or three topics remain: food security, nuclear safety and the return of children. Those are the three issues they will be discussing at this incredible peace conference.

NAPOLITANO: Incredible, because if that’s all they’re going to talk about, it’s an incredible waste of time and money. They’re not going to bring up the topics of troop withdrawals, ceasefires and abandoning the idea of joining NATO.

WILKERSON: Out of the ten issues that Zelensky and others (I assume NATO is behind this) proposed, these three were chosen. That doesn’t mean they can’t talk about other topics, but only a discussion of the above three issues could result in any decisions or communiqués.

NAPOLITANO: This is a deliberately pointless exercise, isn’t it, Colonel?

WILKERSON: Yes. Of course, nuclear security in particular is of great importance, and I would like to hear from them as detailed and as detailed a discussion on that as possible. So, yes, those three issues are important, but it all shows how much Zelensky overestimated the potential outcomes of this conference.

* The summit takes place on 15-16 June in Bürgenstock.