March 14, 2024

Institue for the Study of War:  top Russian official calls for total elimination of the Ukrainian state

Institute for the Study of War

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev posted a detailed call for the total elimination of the Ukrainian state and its absorption into the Russian Federation under what he euphemistically called a “peace formula.” Medvedev’s demands are not novel but rather represent the Kremlin’s actual intentions for Ukraine — intentions that leave no room for negotiations for purposes other than setting the precise terms of Ukraine’s complete capitulation. Medvedev begins the “peace plan” by rhetorically stripping Ukraine of its sovereignty, referring to it as a “former” country and placing the name Ukraine in quotation marks. Medvedev laid out the seven points of his “peace formula,” which he sardonically described as “calm,” “realistic,” “humane,” and “soft.” The seven points include: Ukraine’s recognition of its military defeat, complete and unconditional Ukrainian surrender, and full “demilitarization”; recognition by the entire international community of Ukraine’s “Nazi character” and the “denazification” of Ukraine’s government; a United Nations (UN) statement stripping Ukraine of its status as a sovereign state under international law, and a declaration that any successor states to Ukraine will be forbidden to join any military alliances without Russian consent; the resignation of all Ukrainian authorities and immediate provisional parliamentary elections; Ukrainian reparations to be paid to Russia; official recognition by the interim parliament to be elected following the resignation of Ukraine’s current government that all Ukrainian territory is part of Russia and the adoption of a “reunification” act bringing Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation; and finally the dissolution of this provisional parliament and UN acceptance of Ukraine’s “reunification” with Russia.

Putin established the principles that align the Kremlin’s objectives in Ukraine with Medvedev’s seven points in Putin’s 2021 essay “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” Putin claimed in that article that Ukrainians and Russians are historically one united people who were violently and unjustly separated by external nefarious forces. Putin used this essay to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and claims over its own political, social, historical, linguistic, and cultural development — all suggestions that underpin Medvedev’s calls to dissolve Ukraine as a legal entity and fully absorb it into the Russian Federation. Putin and other Russian officials have long set informational conditions to define Ukraine as an integral and inseparable part of Russian territory and set Russia’s goal in Ukraine as “reuniting” Ukrainian territories with their supposed historic motherland. Medvedev’s “peace formula” makes explicit and brutal what Putin and the Kremlin have long demanded in somewhat more euphemistic phrases: that peace for Russia means the end of Ukraine as a sovereign and independent state of any sort with any borders. Those advocating for pressing Ukraine to enter negotiations with Russia would do well to reckon with this constantly reiterated Russian position.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev posted a detailed call for the total elimination of the Ukrainian state and its absorption into the Russian Federation under what he euphemistically called a “peace formula.” Medvedev’s demands are not novel but rather represent the Kremlin’s actual intentions for Ukraine—intentions that leave no room for negotiations for purposes other than setting the precise terms of Ukraine’s complete capitulation.
  • Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi stated on March 14 that unspecified Ukrainian units that have been deployed to frontline for a long time have started rotations.
  • Russian forces may be currently committing tactical and operational reserves to fighting in eastern Ukraine in an effort to maintain and potentially intensify the tempo of ongoing Russian offensive operations.
  • The Russian ability to make significant gains is still dependent on the level of Western support for Ukraine, however, and continued delays in Western security assistance will increase the risk of operationally significant Russian gains in the long run.
  • Reported Russian transfers of tactical reserves to new areas of the frontline demonstrate Russia’s likely ability to dynamically balance and reweight their offensive efforts.
  • British outlet The Times reported on March 14 that the British government believes that Russia deliberately jammed the satellite signal on a plane carrying British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps back to the UK from Poland.
  • Continued limited raids from Ukrainian territory into Russian border regions will likely force the Kremlin to choose between paying a reputational or resource cost in responding to the incursions.
  • The Kremlin must choose a balance between acceptable reputational and resource costs, but the Kremlin may not suffer as high a reputational cost in 2024 as it did in 2023 due to ongoing censorship efforts.
  • Russian forces advanced west of Avdiivka and in western Zaporizhia Oblast amid continued positional engagements across the theater on March 14.
  • Russian regional governments have reportedly increased economic incentives for Russian volunteers to sign contracts for military service.


Full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-14-2024 

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