One day after shaking the world with Recognition of the self-proclaimed ethnic Russian republics In eastern Ukraine and deploying troops to the region, Vladimir Putin’s government has said it is ready to negotiate with the United States.
“Even in these very difficult times, we say: We are ready for negotiations,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on YouTube. It said its chief, chancellor Sergei Lavrov, would travel to Geneva to discuss the crisis with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday.
Putin moved a vital piece in the row over European security design on Monday (21), when recognized the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Home to about 4 million people, mostly of Russian origin, 800,000 of whom hold passports from their larger neighbour. He claimed that the risks are escalating from the skirmishes of recent days to military action, which Kiev denies.
With it, aggressive speech in which he fundamentally denied that Ukraine is a state in itself, He has put the West under control. Since November, Putin Its forces have mobilized in military exercises around Ukraine — 150,000 of them, at least, according to the US. He denied that he was going to invade the country, but after recognizing the rebel lands he ordered the Russian troops to occupy it on the mission of a “peace force”.
It is something that is happening elsewhere, as in the Russian separatist enclave of Transnistria (Moldova), a remnant of the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, and in the two Russian ethnic regions that have become self-sufficient. After the war between Moscow and Georgia in 2008Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Practically speaking, that’s what could happen to Donbas (eastern Ukraine), which has been autonomous since 2014 in the wake of the civil war sparked by the Kremlin after the annexation of Crimea – which, in addition to being a historical Russian territory, is home to it. For its precious Russian fleet .. the Black Sea.
Andrei Kortunov, director of the prestigious Russian Council on International Affairs, says: “Russia can intimidate Kiev into stopping militarily in Donbass with action. But this is practically the only advantage of recognition. The negative consequences will be many and varied.” Coming from the Kremlin.
In addition to harmless sanctions against rebel areas Announced by the Joe Biden government in the United StatesThis morning, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Russia is a member, asked Moscow to cancel the recognition decrees. This will not happen.
For its part, the European Union announced that it would consider imposing sanctions on Russia on Tuesday (22). Beijing, Russia’s ally, issued a confidential statement urging all those involved in the confusion to exercise restraint.
As of Tuesday morning (22), there were no visible signs of troops arriving in Donetsk or Lugansk, although this could happen at any time. Military trucks and tanks were seen in both capitals, but it is uncertain whether they actually existed and to whom they belonged, the rebels or the Russians.
According to Ivan Alekseevich, a taxi driver who makes a living working in cities in the border area and prefers not to use his surname, in recent days several convoys of army trucks have been seen heading from Rostov-on-Don to the border in Avelo. Uspenka, about 95 km northwest of the regional capital Rostov.
“No one knows what it’s about,” he said. On the other hand, in the same period, he himself saw several freight trains returning armored vehicles and tanks from exercises in border areas. Rostov-on-Don is the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District. “One day I stopped at the railway signal and tanks started passing by,” he said.
For Kiev, Washington and Brussels, the arrival of these peacekeepers already means a Russian invasion, but this is just rhetoric. real work Everyone is afraid It would have another nature, targeting the Ukrainian capital.
There is a sign to pay attention to: how far the Russians will settle, with military bases, in the Donbass. Over the eight years of the conflict, a relatively stable 430 km border separates the Ukrainian republics of Ukraine.
Putin did not cleverly say how far he will go, but any move beyond this so-called line of communication He will stage an actual invasion of Ukraine. The separatists want to return to themselves the former borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, from which they occupy less than half of the pre-civil war lands.
A signal was given by a side representative, Senator Andrei Klimov, from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament). He told Russia 24 channel, this morning (today evening in Brazil), that the Russian plan includes only the current borders.
“Of course, we are talking about the territories located within the boundaries that have been defined so far. The rest are outside the framework of legal activity,” he said, giving a legal appearance to Putin’s unilateral decision.
However, only reality will tell us what will happen and how Ukraine will react. If he only unofficially turns Donbass into a Russian region, without annexation, Putin can indefinitely prolong the dysfunctional status of the Ukrainian state, Like you did with Georgiathus preventing its accession to NATO and the European Union.
If that happened, he would be punished with penalties that might alienate his regime from the Russian elite, but this is something that will remain for later. With the United States and NATO refusing to intervene militarily for fear of an unpredictable war, Your most urgent strategic goal will be achieved.
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