In his article "Ukraine: The Other Side Of The Story", author Paul Heywood-Smith has taken a refreshingly different position on the conflict than the conventional Western one. He has made a genuine attempt to understand the situation from Russia's perspective, and ends the article with a call for a ceasefire.
Russia should cease all current operations to not only bring more territory under its control, but also to weaken the Ukrainian resolve by attacking infrastructure.
Ukraine should cease all military operations to expel Russians from such territory as they are in control of.
And third parties, particularly the US, the UK, European and Nato countries, Canada and Australia, should cease providing weapons and materials which enable the war to continue.
From a humanitarian perspective, I'm all for an immediate ceasefire that will end the killing and destruction at once. In fact, the war should never have been allowed to happen. The US bears primary responsibility for provoking Russia with existential security threats and supporting the extreme persecution of Russians in Eastern Ukraine. (Read this detailed analysis if you don't agree.)
The humanitarian perspective notwithstanding, I don't believe it makes any sense for Russia to agree to a ceasefire at this stage. The following excerpts from my tweets, suitably elaborated, will explain why.
From Russia's perspective, it is poised to inflict such a crushing blow on Ukraine, NATO, Europe and the US that it can demand virtually anything next year.
Ukraine is not just a theatre of military conflict. It will permanently alter global perceptions and hence the world order. This is Russia's chance to show up the US-led West as a loser that no country will side with hereafter. Why stop short of such a victory?
Even today, when it should be clear that Ukraine is on its last legs, Western commentary talks about "Putin's miscalculation", "Russia's futile war", etc. The Western media narrative is deliberately divorced from reality. A ceasefire at this stage will expectedly be spun as a Russian defeat.
Russia needs to pursue the war to the point when reality can no longer be denied, and the West's lies are exposed for what they are. At that point, the West's defeat at the hands of the Russia-China alliance will be complete.
That's why I believe a ceasefire now is not in Russia's interest.
Some may argue that the West, or at least the moderate sections of Western society, need to agree to this change in the world order. There is a further view that these voices are more likely to be influenced by China's peaceful, development-based approach rather than a Russian military victory.
I have two points against this argument.
1. The Russian and Chinese approaches are complementary. Russia is showing up the West's impotence, while China is holding up an alternative model based on development & trade as opposed to conflict. Since it's clear that Russia and China are on the same side, the West doubly loses.
2. This may sound harsh, but it really doesn't matter what any faction in the West thinks, once the world order has been demonstrably changed. The West is simply not as relevant as it likes to believe. Power has been shifting eastwards for years, but perceptions tend to lag reality. It will take a dramatic event such as a comprehensive Western rout in Ukraine to make it obvious to everyone that the world has permanently changed.