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Should Zelensky Surrender To End the War in Ukraine as Soon as Possible?

Certain territories could be given to Russia, at least for now.

Image Licensed to Lucia Grosaru | 2022

At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I considered Volodymyr Zelensky’s decisions and behavior incredible acts of honor and courage — traits shared by all Ukrainian people who joined him in the fight to defend their land and legacy.

As time went by, it became more and more clear that Ukraine’s chances of winning this battle — without the direct involvement of NATO — are almost nonexistent.

NATO shouldn't and won’t, at least officially, join the Ukrainian forces and fight Putin’s army. It would start World War III and it would be catastrophic for most nations, if not for the entire planet — the nuclear threat is something Russia keeps active at all times.

So, Ukraine is pretty much on its own when it comes to direct defense.

And here’s where the problem gets bigger.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian people, civilians as well as military, have been killed during the invasion.

Many more suffered incredible abuses at the hands of the barbaric Russian army of cowards.

And there’s no end in sight.

Not that I care, but Russia loses — according to British intelligence services —about 150 soldiers a day. I don’t usually wish death upon anyone but this world will definitely be a better place without that group of sociopaths.

There is enough proof of war crimes to label them exactly that.

Ukraine, on the other hand, admits to losing about 200 soldiers a day, and to that we add the civilian casualties.

Those numbers are incredibly high, placing the invasion of Ukraine among the bloodiest wars in modern history.

If this rate of deaths were to continue, then by the end of 2022, Russia would lose 28.000 more soldiers, while Ukraine would see 37.000 more deaths among the military, and who knows how many tens of thousands more among their civilian population.

Some officials speak of this military conflict as one that could last years.

Can Ukraine afford that?

Russia’s officials are mad enough — I’m no longer interested in being selective about the words I use — to not care about the people involved, their own included, but are we all going to let this continue?

A long-term war in the area would be catastrophic at a global level.

So, who’s going to stop it?

Is anyone but the regular people — read “with no official position in their countries or in an international organization “— even interested in this conflict to end?

In my opinion, both NATO and the UN failed to manage the situation — if not for the Ukrainians, for their own states. The UN might as well dissolve at this point.

Russia won’t stop unless it’s going to be seen as a victory, even if they lose the last Russian in the process.

Third parties such as China already profit from the situation.

This leaves about three options when it comes to elements powerful enough to end the war in Ukraine:

  • The Russian people. I’ve already covered this option in a previous post:
  • Volodymyr Zelensky — as in him and other Ukrainian officials.
  • An asteroid, or some other natural disaster that can affect the involved areas. You get the idea.

There’s also the “miracle” option but that can go in any direction — something unexpected and/or unlikely may trigger victory for any of the two parties, so we won’t bother with that analysis.

Now, the Russian people attempted to protest for a while — not much happened after. Persecution, yes, but no revolution.

The asteroid and the other wild cards cannot be properly assessed in this context. Also, their direct result would be closer to the nuclear option as well.

That leaves Zelensky and his team of officials.

The President of Ukraine repeatedly said that he is not willing to give up territories to end the war.

His army and that of the invading party keep losing and regaining control over certain areas, but most of the land where battles happened ultimately fell into the hands of the Russians. Land and people as well.

Ukraine fights back in a powerful and courageous manner but I don’t see this method as sustainable for a long period of time.

Especially since Zelensky is already dependent on NATO’s help in properly responding to the attack.

So, should he surrender at this point in the battle?

I tend to say that yes, this is probably the best solution for now, and here’s how I think about it.

The “never give up, never surrender” motto is great but I don’t think it’s the best solution for the people involved.

The argument that goes with the continuation of the military conflict is that since Russia acts like a bully, Ukraine should not allow the abuser to win.

What if Putin won’t stop at Ukraine?” — which is likely what would happen — “Should we all just give up when they show up and destroy, and threaten everyone with the nuclear war?”.

Well, if you use the bully analogy then it may make sense to fight back.

But that’s where I think many, including Zelensky and his team, make a huge mistake: Russia is not just a bully. Russia is also a bully.

Russia doesn’t just threaten and annoy everyone with its scare tactics. No.

They destroy, they torture, they kill, and they are disconnected from reality and empathy enough to go all-in, even if that means destroying everything and everyone in the process.

If I can’t have you, then no one will” mentality.

Yes, I think Putin could launch a nuclear war if he felt threatened. More about it in this previous story:

Russia is historically known as a barbaric, incredibly bloodthirsty people.

They’re not just bullies.

They’re predators. And you don’t want to corner predators.

So, even if Zelensky would be close to winning the war on land and sea — Putin could go for the nuclear bomb.

Not much of a victory for Ukraine, or the world.

The way I think about it is not in “bully-bullied” terms.

I see it as if you’re walking on the street, minding your own business, and then someone puts a gun to your head and asks for your wallet.

Do you fight them?

Yes, if you know you’re well equipped to win. It’s a 50–50% chance you'll win.

Yes, if you’re naive enough to think you’d win. Chance may be on your side, or not.

For most people in this situation though, the best option would be to not engage the attacker. Just give them the wallet.

“So are we to just give in and give everything we have to attackers?”

Yes, at that moment. It’s what will likely — not guaranteed though — save your life and the lives of those you care about.

But if you make it out of the situation, you live to take another step toward getting rid of the plague in the streets.

Find allies, get resources, rethink, regroup.

You get that chance.

I think it’s worth taking it.

Other arguments in favor of Zelensky surrendering, at least in this battle:

  • The lives of Ukrainians and those of their allies are not for Zelensky and his team to gamble with.
  • It’s gone too far already. Ukraine lost too much to even call it a victory if they were to push back and make the Russian troops leave for a while.
  • Too many Ukrainians won’t be able to return to their normal lives anyway. They’re rebuilding their life in other countries and likely won’t hop around just to see if things got better in Ukraine.
  • Reconstruction will take a long time, and money Ukraine doesn’t have.

I understand Zelensky — from a principle and integrity point of view, but there’s also another element to everything: his fear. Although he would probably be able to save his life and the lives of those close to him, in case he surrenders, the risk will always be there.

So I think he’s been treating the situation heavily from a personal perspective from a point in the war onward. I don’t know what that point was — maybe when he started dodging assassination attempts and had to separate from his family, I cannot tell — but he must’ve known for years that his life is at risk simply from opposing Russia, in general.

Anyway, it’s an incredibly difficult choice to make.

Incredibly difficult to assess which decision would be more favorable when written in history books or, perhaps even more importantly, when talked about at a Ukrainian family’s reunion.

Hard to know the will of the people. It started as resistance but things can change when destruction and chaos become everyday realities.

And making decisions when you’re mentally on the edge and exhausted is not the best of things.

Zelensky is getting assistance though, not just from his own people, but the international community of officials, mainly from NATO and the EU.

I hope they’ll give him good advice since their minds should be calmer and clearer at this point in time, and that the Ukrainian President and his team will listen and consider all options.

I want Ukraine to be free.

I want all those responsible to pay.

I want the rest of the world to not be dragged into a conflict that it’s not theirs.

I want us to make better choices from now on, as a global community.

Destruction of nuclear weapons should be the first move — a cause I was not interested in before —, followed by sound strategies on how to deal with incredibly dangerous terrorist states such as Russia.

May we all be safe.

Thank you for reading.

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Lucia Grosaru, M.A. Psy.

Lucia Grosaru, M.A. Psy.

Psychology MA. Assertiveness and Critical Thinking Advocate. Author of PsychologyCorner.com.