Outcomes of the Ukraine conflict

The Ukraine war has been going on since February last year. Picture: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

The Ukraine war has been going on since February last year. Picture: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Published Dec 16, 2023



“Conflict maturity” describes the point at which the mediation and peaceful resolution of a conflict becomes possible. Conflict maturity is reached when the expected benefits of using force decline and are overtaken by opportunities that a termination offers. Such opportunities include international standing, regional influence and economic growth.

Six conditions need to be fulfilled before a peaceful conflict resolution can succeed.

  • First, enthusiasm for the conflict must dissipate and conflict weariness must set in. The numbers of desertions and manifestations of civil disobedience are the evident indicators.
  • The second condition is a realisation by both parties that neither one can achieve an all-out military victory.
  • The third condition calls for a rationalisation of the true causes that have led to the use of military force.
  • Fourthly, approval and support of the war efforts by third parties must be withheld.
  • Fifth, the parties accept that their political discourse must be decontaminated and that to refrain from demonising the other side will be essential for future relations.
  • Sixth, freedom of opinion within the political systems of either party must be promoted, and debates about ending the use of military options must be encouraged.

Only with these six conditions in place, can a lasting ceasefire be achieved. Nobody surrenders arms, without knowing what concessions can be obtained in return. No lasting ceasefire can be achieved without a clear definition of the settlement terms.

The conflict about the future status of the five contested territories, that used to be administered by Ukraine, is not a territorial conflict. The Russian leadership is convinced that the ethnic Russian minority living in these territories is not safe under a nationalist Ukrainian government, considering centuries of resentment.

Russia is equally concerned about an imminent threat to its national security resulting from the integration and arming of the Ukrainian military by Nato, as well as the nationalist degeneration of the political system over the past decade.

Protection of the Russian minority population in the East, demilitarisation and denazification are the objectives pursued by the “special military operation” that commenced on February 24, 2022. The first two objectives have been, by and large, achieved.

The ethnic Russian populations in the East by now have regained life without fear of discrimination or the violent attacks that they have suffered since 2014.

Observers agree that the Ukrainian military has been defeated. The latest attempts to recruit and equip another five brigades will not change the outcome. It will only add another odd 20,000 death candidates to the admitted number of some 500,000 dead soldiers.

In the first week of December, a news line on 1+1 Ukraine TV channel for a short while reported the staggering number of 1.127million fallen or missing Ukrainian soldiers. The fact that the news line was rapidly removed and never again broadcast only confirms its veracity.

In the case of Ukraine, the fourth conflict resolution condition, namely the loss of external support, is not present. The EU and especially Germany are determined to continue to arm and finance the war effort, regardless of what the US congress may decide. Germany alone is sending another 100,000 artillery shells (155mm). The EU promises more and more rewards, if Kyiv continues to send its men to their death at the battlefront.

The end of World War I was precipitated by fundamental internal political changes within the warring nations. There has been much speculation about such a fundamental change in Russia. It overlooks that the Russian democracy is stable, as will be demonstrated in the forthcoming March 2024 presidential election.

In Ukraine, elections have been suspended, under national war powers legislation, as have all important political rights, especially the freedom of expression, the media, and political association. Political opposition has been outlawed. Churches have been raided by police and closed. Public suggestions that peace should be negotiated, have been penalised by special criminal law. The use and teaching of the Russian language have been forbidden.

A peaceful end to the destruction of Ukraine cannot be hoped for, unless the EU makes good on its historic commitment to uphold democracy and human rights. Political and cultural human rights, basic principles of democracy and the rule of law must be restored in Ukraine before any further EU membership aspirations can be entertained.

The restoration of political freedom in Kyiv is not only the precondition for a possible conflict resolution, it is also fundamental for the preservation of the integrity and credibility of the European project.

The EU is not defending democracy and freedom by sustaining a repressive, extremist and certified corrupt regime in Kyiv. Instead, it is allowing Russophobia to fuel prejudices and nationalist fears, as if the German invasion of Russia had never been allowed to happen, 82 years ago.

*DR THOMASHAUSEN is a German Attorney and Professor Emeritus for International Law at the University of South Africa (Unisa).

**The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL.