Dan Wootton: Ukraine has won, let Putin declare victory all he wants, we know he has lost

Ukraine’s wonderful citizens who have fought the might of Russia and kept Putin’s incompetent military machine at bay have become international heroes

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Ukraine has won.

I know the losses – both in terms of lives and property – are enormous.

The images of wilful destruction and human tragedy we are seeing on a daily basis are beyond comprehension in 2022.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not desensitised.

Every image and despatch from Mariupol fills me in with a mix of deep sadness, intense anger and immense frustration.

But, I repeat, Ukraine has won.

The country’s wonderful and steadfast citizens who have fought the might of Russia and kept Putin’s incompetent and stuttering military machine at bay have become international heroes.

Their patriotism and bravery blows me away day after day.

The future of Ukraine is perilous politically but as secure as it’s ever been emotionally and in the eyes of the world.

That’s why I believe negotiating a ceasefire with an increasingly weak Putin is now essential.

Let Putin declare victory all he wants, we know he has lost.

But stop the shelling of Ukrainian civilians as soon as humanly possible.

Overnight, the Financial Times revealed the demands made by Russia in peace talks, which again illustrates just what an isolated and economically strangled position Putin finds himself.

The reported demands from Russia are:

- Kyiv renouncing its ambitions to join Nato

- Promising not to host foreign military bases or weaponry in exchange for protection from allies such as the US, UK and Turkey

- Ukraine would maintain its armed forces but would be obliged to stay outside military alliances.

- Neutrality for Ukraine based on the status of Austria or Sweden was a possibility.

- Reduction in size of Ukrainian military

The reported demands from Ukraine:

- Ceasefire

- A Russian withdrawal

Of course, I understand the fury of folk who feel giving into Putin on anything is wrong.

But the immediate imperative is stopping the slaughter of Ukrainian innocents and the destruction of entire cities.

Sources say deal could result in helping both sides find a credible way to declare victory in the war.

Although predictably the status of Ukrainian territories taken by Russian forces in 2014 could be a major stumbling block for an agreement.

I repeat, we know Ukraine has won.

Get this ceasefire signed and then we’ll deal with Putin’s illegal invasion.