«Few if any diplomatic observers expect a quick deal to resolve the crisis this week, and the opposite – a complete breakdown – is possible. It should quickly become apparent whether Russia is interested in negotiating over its proposals or whether they were designed to be rejected, creating a pretext for a war that Putin has already decided on.»
How on earth does he know that Putin has already ‘decided on war’? (He thinks it is a binary; either Russia is interested in negotiating or they looking for an excuse for war). This is simply a phantasy which has gripped the political-media classes in the last week. As usual they repeat their assumption/tale a few times and soon it becomes a self-evident truth to them.
Russia will “invade” Ukraine if Kiev attacks Donbass in violation of Minsk. They have said so. Everything else is conjecture and the fact is it is highly unlikely that Russia would just up and ‘invade’ Ukraine. A basket-case of a country where millions in the West and centre despise them. What would they do with a conquered Ukraine?
But they’ve repeated this stuff about Putin being about to invade a sufficient number of times for them to have hypnotized themselves into thinking it represents reality.
More likely is that the Kremlin is not expecting to get most of their demands met and will change their posture accordingly. It also means they are not responsible if the crackpots in Kiev try something believing that the US will back them.