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France denounces Putin’s false diplomacy: ‘You don’t negotiate with a gun to your head’

A false diplomacy of peace is trying to impose Russia, when it constantly bombs civilian targets in Mariupol and kyiv. French Foreign Minister Jean Ives Le Drian denounced it, saying that the government of Vladimir Putin “pretend to negotiate and is engaged in a dramatic process of brutality of Long duration”.

Moscow is laying down a red herring by suggesting that it could be granted a model of neutrality Swedish or Austrian for Ukraine. wants the West get excited with a possible quick solution to Europe’s worst war in decades, and therefore pressure kyiv to settle for weak security guarantees. That is nothing more than a smoke screen.

“It is not negotiated with a gun to his head” warned the French foreign minister, who urged the “ceasefire” as a fundamental priority.

Ukrainian soldiers in their positions near kyiv. Photo: Reuters

“Russia rejects it for the time being. Then there will be a determined tightening of sanctions that demonstrates to President Putin that the continuation of the conflict is so high that it is preferable to commit to a ceasefire and in a real negotiation with the Ukrainian president Zelensky”, said the French foreign minister.

Russia is clearly using phony diplomacy to win the information battle that is losingwhich he has not achieved on the battlefield.

His Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov assured that are close to a solution, based on Ukrainian neutrality. Not neutrality but as a kind of submission to Moscow. They even suggest a meeting between Vladimir Putin and President Zelensky in Turkey.

The fighting so far indicates that this is the last thing the Ukrainians want. They want a kind of peace but a peace with honor. It is not what you get at the negotiating table.

Barricades in Odessa.  Photo: AFP

Barricades in Odessa. Photo: AFP

Ukraine, which in 1994 exchanged its nuclear arsenal for what turned out to be useless security promises from Russia, the United States and Great Britain, will not fall for a similar Kremlin trick. Neither an immediate ceasefire nor the more substantial gain of a stable coexistence agreement between Russia and Ukraine is now within reach.

“Stalled Invasion”

The British Ministry of Defense intelligence bulletin is this Thursday lapidary in his analysis of the situation of Russian forces in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely stagnated on all fronts, with Russian forces suffering heavy losses and achieving minimal advances on land, sea or air in recent days,” British military intelligence said on Thursday.

“The Ukrainian resistance remains firm and well coordinated,” the Defense Ministry continued. “The vast majority of the Ukrainian territory, including major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands“.

The Russian version

Russian negotiators said on Wednesday that tentative progress made in peace talks and inching toward a deal, which would force kyiv to give up its NATO ambitions.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, stated that the talks they were “close to a deal”. The Ukrainians said the Russians had lowered their demands and were being more “realistic.”

But they had rejected a detailed 15-point plan, which Britain’s Financial Times reported was the outline of a deal. It would guarantee Ukraine’s neutrality in exchange for a Russian withdrawal.

what do ukrainians say

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Zelensky, said only that the document had been placed on the table.

“FT published a draft, which represents the request position of the Russian side,” he wrote on Twitter. “Nothing more. The Ukrainian side has its own positions. The only thing we confirm at this stage is a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from various countries.”

Optimism about a deal followed Zelensky’s statement on Tuesday that Ukraine had to accept that it would not join NATO. But the bombing of a theater where refugees and children in Mariupol threatened to halt progress towards a deal.

Russian diplomats claimed that Zelensky was ready to accept “neutrality” for Ukraine. Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chief negotiator, said: “Ukraine offers an Austrian or Swedish version of a neutral demilitarized state. But at the same time a state with its own army and navy.”

A neutral state?

The agreement would specify that Ukraine could negotiate security alliances with Western countries. But not having foreign military bases on its territory, which already happens.

The mention of Austria and Sweden would also suggest a commitment on the part of Russia. Both are members of the European Union. Moscow has previously opposed the idea of ​​Ukraine joining any Western organization of states. Sweden is also leaning more and more towards European security structures, but It is not part of NATO.

Destroyed building blocks in Mariupol.  Photo: Reuters

Destroyed building blocks in Mariupol. Photo: Reuters

“The neutral status now is being seriously discussed along with, of course, security guarantees,” Lavrov said. “There are absolutely specific formulations that, in my opinion, are close to agreement.”

neutrality would be the big win that President Putin could claim as a victory, justifying the deaths of thousands of Russian soldiers and the crippling sanctions that have been imposed on the country. If there is an agreement, the brutal sanctions would be lifted, but trade would not be normal.

The main obstacles to an agreement are the fate of the occupied territories by Russia of Crimea and Donbas, the “republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk, which seceded in 2014. Russia would demand recognition of its independence and, in the case of Crimea, annexation, which they are Ukrainian “red lines”.

The war will continue

Under the bombs, with the daily challenge of getting food and medicines for the isolated elderly, the curfew, sleeping in the cellars, with the men separated from their wives and childrenUkrainians feel war fatigue. That is why they hopefully see a ceasefire, a diplomatic path. But the fighters on the ground believe that we must resist one more month. Russia will be exhausted like her troops.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, is suggesting that a deal could be close to Ukraine’s future neutrality. President Zelensky has declared that “any war ends with an agreement.”

But both are simply trying to calm their backers: Russia nods to its restive ally China. Zelensky, with his sights set on NATO, which needs to see some way of connecting its military aid with an ultimately peaceful outcome.

Ukrainians in Odessa await evacuation to Moldova.  Photo: EFE

Ukrainians in Odessa await evacuation to Moldova. Photo: EFE

A ceasefire in Ukraine can give civilians and Russia a breathing space to rebuild its devastated troops, its supply problems, as lack of food and fuel, their lack of drones and ammunition. According to some calculations, Russia, in the first three weeks of battle, lost 13,800 men. There are as many as those who died in the two long and bloody Chechen wars.

To them are added the defections, prisoners and soldiers who have been left with their vehicles destroyed. It is clear that the Russian fighting machine in Ukraine has to slow down while bringing in new troops– Your reinforcements will be new and perhaps even less competent than the current troops.

For the Ukrainians, a ceasefire is an opportunity to bring more NATO anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to prepare, before the second phase of the war. They also have to train the new recruits and their new weaponry.

Paris, correspondent


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