Negotiations within the Minsk process are not likely to make progress so long as Putin remains totally intransigent. His mobilization of an invading force of 190,000 troops suggests that that could be a long time.
The great risk in any meeting between Biden and Putin, or in negotiations to avoid an invasion, is that the U.S. and NATO, and/or Macron and Olaf Scholz, could pressure Zelensky to make concessions in the Minsk negotiations which in the end will amount to a surrender, or that a secret deal could be made behind his back that effectively blocks Ukraine from ever becoming a NATO member.
Such concessions would amount to rewarding Putin for his aggression.
As the Munich Pact in 1938 demonstrated, rewarding aggression through a policy of appeasement may bring “peace in our time”, but that time is likely to be short.
Following the Munich Pact on September 30/October 1, 1938, Hitler invaded “rump” Czechoslovakia in March, 1939, and Poland on September 1, 1939. Indeed, Hitler’s threats against Poland and Germany’s false-flag and propaganda operations in late August 1939, accompanied by frenetic diplomatic activity, greatly resemble Russia’s threats and false-flag operations against Ukraine today.
As Radek Sikorski, a former foreign minister of Poland, said on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program this morning, “Putin doesn’t want security guarantees. He wants Ukraine.”
Another quote from Sunday’s TV programs is worth bearing in mind. Retired. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, former Vice-president Mike Pence’s National Security Adviser, reminded his audience on Fox News, “Putin doesn’t bluff.”