By David Sole
Attention in the Ukraine war is shifting to the east. But before we discuss the military situation we ought to spend a moment on the possibility for a negotiated end to the hostilities.
On April 12 Russia’s president Vladimir Putin announced that peace talks that had been going on between the Russian Federation and Ukraine in Turkey were, “at a dead end.” Russian troops had entered Ukraine on what Putin declared was a Special Military Operation on February 24 with two stated goals. Russia intended to ‘demilitarize” Ukraine and ensure that this neighboring country did not join NATO or establish bases with NATO or US troops or missiles on their border.
The second stated goal was to “denazify” Ukraine’s military, which had incorporated ultra-rightwing militias into its structure following the U.S./CIA orchestrated 2014 “Maidan” coup. This goal was especially urgent as Ukraine was moving large military formations and equipment up to the border with the ethnic Russian areas of East Ukraine known as the Donbass.
Ukraine’s military attacks on the Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples’ Republics in the Donbas region had been going on since 2014 when speaking the Russian language in Ukraine was outlawed. Peace had been negotiated, with the participation of other nations, including NATO members and Russia, in the Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 Accords (signed February 12, 2015). Minsk 2 declared a military ceasefire, the withdrawal of Ukrainian heavy weapons from the Donbas border and constitutional granting of self-government to the two self-proclaimed people’s republics.
But Ukraine’s attacks never completely ended. Over 14,000 ethnic Russians were killed in the following years. In January and early February of 2022 the attacks escalated and.it appeared that a major Ukrainian invasion of that region was set to occur.
It was only then that Russia declared that the Minsk Accords no longer existed and the Russian Federation recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk republics. That was on February 21 and the Russian intervention followed 3 days later.
Despite widespread, biased and false reporting from the Western mass media, Ukraine’s military has been seriously degraded by the Russian forces. Why then does Ukraine’s president Zelensky keep urging his people to fight this unequal battle? It is because Zelensky has been convinced that the U.S. and NATO will turn the tide of battle.
Jacques Baud, a former NATO military analyst, recently stated:
“the American and European political leaders deliberately pushed the Ukraine into a conflict that they knew was lost in advance – for the sole purpose of dealing a political blow to Russia.”
Baud and others have exposed how the U.S. and European powers are manipulating the situation. In an interview titled “U.S., EU sacrificing Ukraine to ‘weaken Russia’” Baud stated:
“at the end of February, as soon as Zelenskyy indicated that he might be willing to start negotiations, this was the time where these negotiations were to take place in Belarus. Within hours after Zelenskyy decided that, the European Union came with a decision providing for half a billion arms to Ukraine, meaning that the Americans, certainly, but I think the West as a whole, made every possible effort to prevent a political solution to the conflict, and I think the Russians are aware of that.”
The ranks are being thinned of Ukraine leaders who might favor a negotiated settlement rather than see the destruction of their country in a continuing war On March 5, Ukrainian negotiator Denis Kireyev was assassinated. According to Baud, Kireyev was eliminated by the Ukrainian secret service who considered him
“too friendly to Russia….The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU’s main directorate for Kiev and its region, who was assassinated on March 10 because he was too favorable to an agreement with Russia — he was shot by the Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) militia. This militia is associated with the Mirotvorets website, which lists the “enemies of Ukraine,” with their personal data, addresses and telephone numbers, so that they can be harassed or even eliminated.”
Two top Ukraine generals were fired by Zelensky on April 1, who denounced them as “traitors” according to a Newsweek report.
Zelensky has also relentlessly appealed to his Ukrainian troops and militias in the southern city Mariupol to fight on despite their dire condition. Encircled for a month by Russian forces, Ukrainian military units have been hard pressed in the fighting. On April 13, “1,026 Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th marine brigade voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered” according to Russia’s defense ministry. Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, has now nearly been captured, except for some troops holed up in a huge iron works complex.
Respected military analysts such as former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter and former NATO analyst Jacques Baud have given dispassionate appraisals of the Ukraine military situation, unlike most of the Western media. They explain that Russia is carrying out limited objectives for their military and achieving their main goals. Even recent leaks from authoritative Pentagon sources confirm this and debunk much of the pro-war propaganda from the corporate media that saturates the air waves.
The great danger, however, is that the pro-war, anti-Russia ideologues in the U.S. government and European Union will continue to flood Ukraine with promises and weapons. Their goal, however, is not to win the war militarily, but to harm Russia politically and economically down to the last drop of Ukrainian blood.