KP: And if Putin takes over Kyiv, or gets a puppet leader installed in Ukraine, the war will end?
PF: "Russia has one person as a decision-maker in the end. Putin. Most likely he believes Russia can still win this confrontation and is not ready to write it off as a total defeat. That means we will continue.
“Adolf Hitler until 1944 was telling everyone – he was a trench soldier from World War I – that ‘look how many new weapons we are producing, real new wonderful stuff, jet fighters, bombs. With those new weapons of support, we will will prevail on the battlefield.’
“Putin believes that under pressure, Russians will unite and perform miracles like previous generations did, that maybe it’s a good thing that we are under sanctions. We will find our national identity, unite China and India against the West. He’s living in a kind of dream world as Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel once said. Now it’s more of a financial crisis, which right now is beginning to develop into an overall crisis. There are layoffs already happening.”
KP: So Kyiv is the intermediary battle and the war against the West is the ultimate victory to be won by Putin?
PF: “Moscow is ready to negotiate. Negotiations from the Russian point of view have never begun. I recently had a working breakfast with a European ambassador who, by protocol is present at summits when presidents are meeting. When he is present at the top-level talks, Russians all the time want to put a map on the table and carve up Europe, Yalta-style, or Molotov-Ribbentrop style. Russia is waiting for the West to begin talking on substance -- where Vilnius goes, where Lviv goes. In the Russian view, there should be a map and a line on the map. They can’t say so publicly. They would want a secret appendix.
KP: So the West and Ukraine are in for a long war unless they compromise on Ukraine’s independence?
PF: “I believe so; I don’t see right now any amicable or swift way out. I believe that Russia cannot win. If they try, they are totally screwed, in general, in taking on the West like that, pig-headedly. Ukraine is seen by Russia and the media from the imperial capital as important, but not as important as the clash with the West. A head-on clash with the West will destroy Russia in its present form.”