Russia’s War on Ukraine

A negotiated settlement requires giving Putin an off-ramp. He destroyed a major off-ramp for himself by purporting to annex four of Ukraine’s eastern provinces after conducting a sham referendum, but he still needs one. Maybe something along these lines would be possible: Cease-fire, and all Russian forces withdraw to where they were before last February 24th, when the invasion began (Russia continuing to hold Crimea.) Ukraine pledges not to join NATO, but NATO will defend Ukraine if it is attacked again. The four eastern provinces are demilitarized and replaced by a small force of U.N. troops. The U.N. holds a real referendum in the four provinces. A special U.N.commission is empowered to root out fascists in Ukraine. (There are none, but this satisfies Putin’s requirement.) NATO pledges never to attack Russia unless it is attacked. (NATO wouldn’t attack anyway, but this satisfies Putin’s requirement.) Sanctions against Russia are lifted. Putin is conditionally absolved of war crimes charges. All countries enter into good faith nuclear arms reduction agreements, trade agreements, and respect for human rights agreements.I’m not an expert. I don’t know if something along these lines would be possible, but experts should be thinking creatively and hard about how to end this war.