WASHINGTON: Moscow is set on keeping control of the territories that have voted to become part of Russia amid the special military operation in Ukraine, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a joint article for The Washington Post, reports Sputnik.
According to Rice and Gates, most of Ukraine’s industrial capacity and mineral wealth are under Russian control, while the Ukrainian infrastructure and the economy have suffered greatly.
Count on Putin to be patient to achieve his destiny, Rice and Gates said.
They stressed that Kyiv is dependent almost entirely on Western aid and the United States must increase its military supplies to Ukraine if it wants Ukrainian troops to push back Russian forces.
Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressures on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will grow as months of military stalemate pass, the joint article says.
Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, after the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian provocations. In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine.
On September 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, signed agreements on the accession of these territories to Russia, following referendums that showed that an overwhelming majority of the local population supported becoming part of Russia.