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Russia-Ukraine war: a diplomatic ballet with incessant high-level calls for a ceasefire

A diplomatic ballet of peace has begun to achieve at least a ceasefire in the war in Ukraine and that Russia abandons civilians as a military objective to break the resistance.

Russia she is in a hurry in the military field in Ukraine, with too many losses of troops and material and the intentions of besieging the Ukrainian resistance in the east of the country. Needs to a ceasefire to reinforce their forces and repeat them.

the ballet of peace

The ceasefire choreography It began on Thursday night, when Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky earlier.

Putin at the celebrations for the 8th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. Photo: Reuters

Day 23 in photos: Russian missiles fall on Lviv, Ukrainian counterattacks slow advance on kyiv

On the morning of this Friday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Putin again. Then President Joe Biden spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to warn him not to get involved in the war.

Finally, this Thursday afternoon, President Emmanuel Macron, who has just launched his campaign for re-election with a 4-hour press conference, planned talk again with Putin.

The conversation with Erdogan

Turkey has carefully positioned itself to be the intermediary between Russia and Ukraine. It seems to be paying off. Although it is Turkish drones, in the hands of the Ukrainian resistance, that are harming the Russian forces.

President Vladimir Putin called the president to Erdogan on Thursday afternoon. He explained what Russia’s precise demands were for a peace agreement with Ukraine.

The points for an agreement demanded by Putin and Zelensky

Russian demands are divided in two categories.

According to Erdogan’s spokesman, Kalin told John Simpson, the BBC’s world editor, “The first four demands are not too difficult for Ukraine to meet.”

The main one “is Ukraine’s acceptance that it should be neutral and should not apply to join NATO.” The president of Ukraine has already recognized this.

There are other lawsuits in this category that mostly seem to be face-saving items for Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine would have to undergo “a disarmament process to ensure that it is not a threat to Russia.” There should be protection for the Russian language in Ukraine. AND “the denazification”one of Putin’s excuses to legitimize his invasion.

This is deeply offensive to Zelensky, who is Jewish and some of his relatives died in the Holocaust. But the Turkish authorities believe that it will be quite easy for him to accept. Perhaps it is enough that Ukraine condemn all forms of neo-Nazism and promise to suppress them.

The second category is “where the difficulty will lie”. In his phone call, Putin said that he would need “face-to-face negotiations between him and President Zelensky” before he could agree on these points.

Zelensky has already said that he is prepared to meet with the Russian president and deal with him directly.

These demands involve the eastern Ukrainian state of Donbas, parts of which have already seceded from Ukraine and emphasized their “Russianness”, and the state of Crimea. Russia is supposed to demand that the Ukrainian government cede territory in eastern Ukraine. That will be deeply controversial.

The other assumption is that Russia will demand that Ukraine formally accept that Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, now belongs to the Russian Federation. If this is the case, it will be a bitter pill for Ukraine. If the details are not met, Putin could try to invade again.

Putin and the home front

Putin controls the Russian press as in the times of the Soviet Union. It shouldn’t be too hard for him to present all of this as a big win.

Putin controls the Russian press as in the times of the Soviet Union.  Photo: AFP

Putin controls the Russian press as in the times of the Soviet Union. Photo: AFP

But in Russia, the population has begun to be divided About the war. The news of the dead is already spread inside by the families of the soldiers. Many Russian journalists they leave the country and from the outside, resign their positions and denounce. The same thing happens with intellectuals, writers.

A “difficult” dialogue with the German chancellor

A negotiating Friday for Putin. During a morning telephone interview with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Vladimir Putin estimated that “the kyiv regime is trying by all means to lengthen the negotiation processpresenting unrealistic new proposals”.

Russia has indicated that it wants to negotiate with kyiv a neutral and demilitarized status. The Ukrainian authorities, without abandoning the idea of ​​neutrality and appearing to renounce membership in NATO, have asked the designation of countries that guarantee their security and that they defend it militarily in case of aggression from Moscow.

A destroyed residential building in kyiv.  Photo: EFE

A destroyed residential building in kyiv. Photo: EFE

kyiv also asks withdrawal of all Russian forces and respect for their territorial integrity.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian presidency, admitted that his meeting with Olaf Scholz had been a “difficult conversation”when a call with Macron remained.

macron again

The talks between Emmanuel Macron and Putin they are long and hard. To Macron he loves to debate and confronts Putin, who knows well and tutea. He tells her repeatedly: “those are your lies”. But the dialogue continues, with the two translators from the first day.

All interlocutors they are looking for a ceasefireto stop the bloodshed, the massacre of civilians and the russian medieval site to Ukrainian cities. A peace agreement would take much longer. Much more the reconstruction of Ukraine and where to resettle returning refugees.

From the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, who broke the “shabbat” to meet Putin on a Saturday, at the request of Ukraine, and who maintains contact between kyiv and Moscow. The Ukrainian president is Jewish, with family members killed in the holocaustdespite Putin’s “Nazi” accusations.

Turkey is a member of NATO but has a working relationship with Moscow and is involved, in conjunction with Israel.

China’s role

The other player may be China, which Russia has asked for military help. US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping began a new step of “telephone diplomacy”. So far, China does not appear to support or reject the war. But is against sanctionswhich will affect their economy and that of the world.

Western countries believe that China can play a crucial role when it is Russia’s main trading partner.

The “traitors” of the Russian services

But President Putin faces yet group of “traitors” interiors, that has stopped. this time it was a top commander and number 3 of the National Guard, Roman Gavrilov, whom he accuses of espionage. He was arrested on Thursday by the FSB, which replaced the KGB, “for reveal troop movement and spend too much fuel” in the operation.

The National Guard are 400,000 men answering to the Ministry of the Interior. They comprise Omon, the elite unit, and Sobr, the fast action unit, which have suffered heavy losses since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. The head and deputy head of foreign intelligence of the FSB and other officers have also been arrested.

Putin’s “purge” it shows that there are fractures within the regime as the military operation fails to advance in Ukraine and losses in troops, logistics, rations and fuel mount, as Russia must replace its exhausted men on the front lines.

Paris, correspondent


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