Even if neither Washington nor kyiv confirms the pressures on Volodymyr Zelensky, the publication Kyiv Post announces that the Ukrainian president would have given up some of the conditions formulated, in order to sit down at the negotiating table with Moscow.
The soft calls were reportedly made last Friday, during the visit to Kyiv by Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser. Zelensky’s main concession is to no longer condition the peace talks on the ousting of Vladimir Putin from power.
Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister: “For us, the life and health of the Russian military is always a priority.”
Yet the Russian Defense Minister allowed himself to appear preoccupied with the soldiers in Moscow to justify the decision to withdraw from Kherson.
Kherson, a strategic city in Crimea and the first and only regional capital, captured by Russia during the entire invasion. The Moscow soldiers are retreating across the Dnieper to the east bank, alongside them, so to speak, and no one in Moscow is giving an explanation, only announcing that this is a thing worthy of all praise . For their part, the Ukrainians, curiously, do not seem very enthusiastic about this withdrawal, which some Western commentators hastened to call the most shameful military withdrawal since the fall of the USSR. So what is really going on? Why are the Russians leaving, why aren’t the Ukrainians gloating? The latter seem to fear that it is a bluff, intended to train their soldiers after the Russians, on the left bank of the Dnieper, and to be massacred by the troops of Moscow, at the fortified positions. Western militaries believe that Russia is instead using the Dnieper as a natural border to reinforce its positions and move troops to Donetsk, where the fighting is not going at all for Putin’s army.
Richard Dannatt, former head of the British army: “If I were the supreme commander of the Ukrainian army, I would be very careful. I would put my intelligence and reconnaissance services on high alert to find out what is really happening on the ground. It is probably a defining moment of the war!”
And that is exactly what the ruler of Kyiv is doing.
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine: “We have to restrain our emotions, always, during war. I will not provide the enemy with all the details of our military operations. The enemy does not give us gifts. We move forward with great caution, without taking risks useless, in order to liberate all our territory and have as few losses as possible”.
Instead, Vladimir Putin appears to have distanced himself from the announcement of the withdrawal decision, as journalists also observed.
Steve Rosenberg, BBC: “Defense Minister Shoigu, Russian General Surovikin… Shoigu, Surovikin… Surovikin again. But where is the Supreme Commander, Vladimir Putin? Yes, here he is, talking about ‘reducing the threat of poverty to families in Russia’…or praising the police for maintaining order in the occupied territories!”
Alex Rossi, Sky News: “The war here in the south must be fought in the open field. It is absolutely deadly to be hit by enemy artillery. This team has just received coordinates from the drone reconnaissance unit and is now firing missiles at Russian positions.”
On the other hand, in Kyiv and in the Western capitals, the reactions are cautious, even suspicious.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General: “We are aware of the announcement, but we will wait to see what actually happens on the pitch.”
Richard Dannatt, former head of the British army: “Perhaps this is a ploy to encourage the Ukrainians to advance so far that the Russians can launch a counter-offensive including, God forbid!, a tactical nuclear weapon in the open near Kherson. The Russians are past masters in “maskirovka”, that is to say deception, diversion, camouflage”.
On the other hand, there are still calls for diplomacy.
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry: “We are always open to negotiations (with Ukraine). I have never rejected them. Of course, we are ready to participate in them given the current circumstances.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey: “Russia’s decision to withdraw from Kherson is significant and positive. Our hope is for our mediation efforts to succeed.”
Journalist: You said earlier that it remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian government is ready to compromise with Russia. Are you suggesting by the word “compromise” that there is room for territorial compromises?
Joe Biden, President of the United States: No, that’s not what I said. It all depends on the Ukrainians!
Journalist: So what were you thinking?
Joe Biden, President of the United States: Nothing special. The context was as follows: “If the Russians really withdraw from…Fallujah…I mean Kherson. And I felt that now both sides will lick their wounds and decide what they will do in the winter and whether or not they are willing to compromise”. I don’t know what they will do. What I do know is that we will not tell the Ukrainians what to do.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General: “At some point, this war will most likely end at the negotiating table as well. But what Ukraine can achieve in the negotiations depends on where it stands on the battlefield!”
On the other hand, General Milley also insisted on the advisability of negotiations.
“There must be a mutual recognition that military victory is unlikely to be achieved, in the true sense of the word, by military means. Therefore, we must consider other means. There is a window of opportunity for negotiation,” underlined General Milley. .
Tags: Russia, Ukraine, war, negotiations,
Release date: 10-11-2022 19:32