Dan Wootton: We must avoid this conflict escalating and dragging the West into armed conflict

We need the invasion of Ukraine to end and can then continue to hammer Putin where it will really hurt him in the long term: Financially.

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I know it’s not what many folk want to hear and I understand how galling it feels for Ukraine to bend in negotiations with the totalitarian invading Russian regime.

But peace talks are now the world’s best hope – there must be compromise on both sides to end this evil and completely unnecessary war.

In fact, it’s probably the only way to stop the ongoing killing of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and equally hapless Russian conscripts, as Putin’s forces struggle to conquer Zelensky’s brave and plucky democracy.

After two weeks of stalled progress, finally over the weekend there was reason for a small flicker of optimism.

Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mi-ky-lo Po-dol-yak claimed Russia now understands Ukraine “will not concede in principle on any positions” and said the two sides are “beginning to talk constructively”.

“According to my personal expectations, this progress may grow in the coming days into a joint position of both delegations, into documents for signing.”

Of course, exactly what a compromise looks like is the subject of much consternation.

The Kremlin has previously demanded Ukraine acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory and recognise the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states.

Then there’s the thorny issue of future Nato and EU membership, which Ukraine has continued to forcefully pursue.

As Colonel Tim Collins – Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment during the Iraq War – wrote in today’s Daily Mail…

"Prolonged attrition can leave Putin’s regime without any hope of victory, so that it is forced to negotiate further with Ukraine, whose independence should be the first condition of any such talks. More negotiations could be brokered by China, which is dismayed by the blood-soaked war, having been promised by Putin that it would all be over in a few days. With the pressures of its ravenous economy, China cannot endure a global meltdown triggered by prolonged conflict.”

While Zelensky has insisted “we're not ready for capitulation”, he has conceded that Ukraine “can discuss and find a compromise on how these territories will live on”.

That may feel unfair.

I understand those calling for Nato to enforce a No Fly Zone and risk World War Three will think any sort of compromise is a capitulation to a murderous dictator in the mould of Hitler or Stalin.

But we must avoid this conflict escalating and dragging the West into armed conflict.

It’s simply not worth it.

We need the invasion of Ukraine to end and can then continue to hammer Putin where it will really hurt him in the long term: Financially.