Ukrainians are “fighting an essential war for their survival,” and an end to the war is not imminent, according to Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan.
“Making peace is always so difficult because you have a number of players,” MacMillan told political journalist Paul Wells.
The issue that complicates efforts to secure peace is that “it is going to be very difficult for Ukraine to say that we can accept Russia having some of the eastern parts of Ukraine,” she added.
MacMillan, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Toronto and professor of international history and the former warden of St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, made her comments on the situation of the Russia-Ukraine War during a wide-ranging interview for the Paul Wells Show podcast in Toronto on Jan. 26.
This war surprised MacMillan. Yet, in hindsight, she said she can see how it was foreshadowed.
“Once the Russians started moving troops up to the border of Belarus and Ukraine … it was quite clear in retrospect that something was going to happen,” MacMillan said. “And once you make that sort of gesture, if you pull back, it sort of fizzles out, and you look a bit foolish.”
She said she has not yet seen any indication that the Russians are “ready to talk.”
“What is really dangerous is the threat that Putin has been using of escalating to nuclear weapons,” she said. “It would be dangerous in the future to give way to that threat.”
She believes that it is Putin’s war, and that “he was prepared for it himself.”
“He had got himself into position,” she said.
She said Putin convinced himself that Ukraine was a part of Russia, and thought this conflict would be legitimate.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Federal Defence Minister Anita Anand recently announced Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, along with ammunition, in response to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request for help fighting Russia.