Ukraine, a Clarification

In my December 3rd blog I stated what I thought shouldn’t be negotiable in talks with Putin, and that ceding eastern provinces to Russia should be negotiable. Since then, I’ve learned that Putin says that he won’t enter into talks unless Ukraine and its allies first recognize his illegal and baseless claim that Russia has annexed four eastern provinces of Ukraine and Ukraine removes its armed forces from them. This demand is, of course, unacceptable. Ceding any Ukrainian territory to Russia is out of the question except as a quid pro quo for concessions on the part of Russia which, among other things and without relying on Putin’s word, will ensure the longterm security and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which would necessarily include a guarantee of protection by NATO forces.