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Many in the West are war-weary, tired of the cost of supplying Ukraine with weapons and skeptical that the ongoing counteroffensive will bring victory against Russia. Pressure on Ukraine to sue for peace has escalated for months. Some suggest that now, when Russian President Vladimir Putin is weakened by the Wagner paramilitary group's mutiny, Western leaders should urge Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to consider an armistice, a cease-fire that in effect cedes the occupied territories to Russia to stop the killing.

This argument rests on multiple false assumptions. It misunderstands Russia's motives, an imperialism that will drive Russia to rebuild its ground forces and invade again; Russia's 2022 invasion followed its 2014 seizure of Crimea and the Donbas. It ignores Russia's track record of violating agreements — with Chechnya in 1997, Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2015.

It also rests on the gravely false assumptions that appeasing Russia with territory will end the killing and barbaric violence. This argument fails to comprehend a Russian-style "peace." As Przemyslaw Zurawski vel Grajewski, an adviser to Poland's foreign minister, recently told me, "A settlement ceding Ukrainian territory to Russia for peace is not just about land. It is about human lives."

Arguing that Ukraine should forfeit land for peace turns a blind eye to the atrocities that will surely accompany any Russian deal. For over a century, Moscow has repeatedly perpetrated savagery and mass killings against potential opponents — in anticipation of, during and following occupation by its forces. Putin is already mimicking Josef Stalin in his genocidal efforts to subjugate Ukraine.

When Ukraine resisted Bolshevik control, the Soviet dictator executed thousands of accused dissenters and deliberately weaponized famine to starve to death an estimated 4 million Ukrainians in the Holodomor.

Stalin wielded forced deportations as another insidious hammer to crush those he deemed too economically and socially "backwards," too religious or too attached to their national identities to conform to Soviet imperialist aims. Summarily rounded up, herded into cattle cars and deliberately deprived of food, water and heat, Stalin ripped these potential opponents from their national homelands and condemned them to the gulag. These brutal operations to remove Stalin's alleged "enemies" included three waves of Ukrainian deportations — totaling about 1.5 million people.

Even at his weakest points, before and during World War II, Stalin employed mass brutality. He used "war scares" as a pretext to eradicate other national groups. Those deported included about 36,000 Finns, 68,000 Germans, 175,000 Koreans, half a million Chechens and Ingush, and 190,000 Crimean Tatars.

When the USSR occupied eastern Poland, Stalin initiated multiple waves of arrests, executions and deportations of Polish citizens — totaling some 600,000-800,000. Among them were also ethnic Ukrainians and Jews, all deemed enemies. Approximately 22,000 Polish army officers were shot in a mass execution in the Katyn Forest. Poles in the camps were later forced into the Red Army to fight the Nazis.

Another 500,000 people from the Baltic states (at least 300,000 Lithuanians, 140,000 Latvians and about 40,000 Estonians) were deported during and after the Soviet annexation of those countries.

Hundreds of thousands of deportees perished en route, and more would die of starvation, beatings or execution in the labor camps and "special settlements" across Central Asia and Siberia.

In each case, Stalin sought to decapitate the intellectual and cultural elite so as to erase the nation. Historian Norman Naimark has rightly called these mass executions, man-made famines and deportations "Stalin's genocides."

In 2022 and 2023, millions of Ukrainians are again being deported or under threat of deportation from Russian-occupied territories. Putin's April 2023 decree legalized the arrest and deportation of Ukrainians for resisting forcibly imposed Russian citizenship. The International Criminal Court has documented that among the deportees are tens of thousands of children, torn from their parents, to be re-educated as Russians. Putin's ongoing attempts to erase Ukrainian identity and memory by dislocating and brainwashing the next generation are chilling repetitions of Stalin's crimes.

Putin's policies reflect a fundamental truth, which advocates of a territory-ceding peace fail to recognize: The ruthlessly imperialist and violent culture defining Russia's regime and security forces did not disappear when the USSR collapsed.

Stalin reportedly urged his secret police to "crush into oblivion" potential opponents; Putin, Russia's security service (the FSB) and the Russian military today share this vicious and paranoid mentality. Neither the Soviet nor Russian army has ever distinguished between combatants and civilians in the conduct of war or its aftermath.

In any peace deal that leaves Ukrainian land under Russian control, the FSB and military will have a free hand to "crush into oblivion" the occupied population. While the Western media's war coverage has largely been sanitized, Ukrainians on social media are disseminating detailed personal accounts and images of maimed children and soldiers who have been mercilessly tortured in Russian captivity. Indeed, the atrocities of Bucha will likely pale in comparison to the war crimes committed in the occupied zones.

Weaponized rape, too, will define Russia's occupation of any ceded territories. In the victorious aftermath of World War II, as the Soviet Union occupied East Germany and Poland, Soviet soldiers raped hundreds of thousands of German and Polish women. Stalin excused his soldiers' behavior as natural; Russian military culture encouraged it.

Russia repeated the use of rape as a weapon of war during the Chechen conflicts (1994-2009). To date, the United Nations has documented nearly 200 cases of Russian soldiers' rape of Ukrainians, including of young children. Only a fraction of such crimes have been reported. Women across the Baltics have repeatedly exposed this barbarism in graphic protests in front of Russian embassies, but Russia has refused to be shamed.

Wagner's boss, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, may be off the battlefield for now, but the fighters he controlled — notorious for their sledgehammer executions — are likely to be folded into Russia's army or its other mercenary groups in Ukraine. Wagner's bases are still open and its offices are still recruiting. Russian military leadership has not changed. Nor has the FSB, with its tentacles of control throughout the country. Particularly notable during the June mutiny was the absence of civic protests; no democratic opposition seized the moment to oppose the war, much less challenge Putin. The Russian way of war will not change soon.

However shaken the Putin regime may be, the West needs to stand by Ukraine and enable it to win. Not only Ukraine, but Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have responded to Russia's genocidal war by declaring, "Not one inch." They know what will happen if Russia is allowed to retain any Ukrainian land. In Vilnius, at the NATO summit next week, the rest of NATO's leaders should heed their warnings.

A "peace" that leaves Ukrainian lives under Russia's control will be no peace, but a grant of impunity for further brutalities, executions, ethnic cleansing, mass rape and, ultimately, the revival of Russian imperialism.

Kathleen Collins is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches Russian and Eurasian politics. Her latest book is "Politicizing Islam in Central Asia: From the Russian Revolution to the Afghan and Syrian Jihads." She is researching postcommunist military reform.