rf threatens everyone, but in fact seeks a truce and negotiations. What for?
Paradox. The Russian Federation is committed to a ceasefire, a truce and negotiations, despite the apparent increase in July 2022 of aggressive “attacking” rhetoric against those with whom it needs to negotiate.
It’s not just about Ukraine. Russia needs a pause not only to restore its military potential and fix the annexation of the occupied Ukrainian territories. It needs a pause to solve the serious problems caused by the sanctions within the state and to arrange some new place in the international arena.
This is evidenced by the results of the July monitoring of the rhetoric of the highest officials of Russia, conducted by the Monitoring Group of the BlackSeaNews editorial office and the Institute of Black Sea Strategic Studies.
Russia is “knocking out” a pause in the war in order to survive under sanctions. And Russia has begun a strategic turn to the South and East – Asia and Africa. That is, Russia understood and agreed that it had already been “expelled from Europe.” She no longer identifies herself with Europe and the Western world and – most importantly – she is not going to return there. Russia also realized that there would be no lifting of sanctions
Such a reversal takes time – both for political steps and for redesigning the entire economic logistics. And to have that time, we need negotiations and a ceasefire.
Ukraine has already frustrated Russia’s attempt to build a ceasefire, that is, a truce, into the grain theme during the Istanbul meetings. Russian irritation at this failure resulted in a demonstrative missile attack on the port of Odessa, carried out the very next day after the signing of the “Istanbul Initiative”. According to the perverted logic of Russia, this is “coercion to a ceasefire.” Such will be Russian provocations if and when ships with Ukrainian grain leave Ukrainian ports.
However, in the Russian Federation they have already understood that with regard to Ukraine, the mechanism of “rocket” coercion to negotiations and a truce will not work. Therefore, hopes came to the fore that the mechanism of gas coercion would work in Europe, which, according to the Kremlin’s dreams, is the “weak link” and should force Ukraine to a ceasefire. And since the EU – according to the Kremlin’s beliefs – is completely controlled by the United States, the final addressee of their negotiating “fantasies” becomes clear. Moreover, the “theoretical” foundation of the Russian vision of a new division of the world has not changed since the well-known “proposals” of the United States and NATO in December 2021.
Of course, Russia will try to use the internal political situation in Europe and the United States for this, to increase the potential dissatisfaction of European voters with all sorts of its favorite “economic dirty tricks”. In order to break the unity of the EU and NATO in Russia, they will try hard to use the leaders of Hungary and Turkey with their synchronous calls to change their attitude towards Putin. At the same time, they will try to increase the potential and influence of the BRICS and SCO and build up the anti-Western campaign in Africa and Asia.
To win the Great War of the 21st century, it is necessary to analyze and evaluate all modern events and statements regarding the place of Ukraine and Western civilization in the global context. Despite all the just indignation that the statements of the representatives of the Kremlin junta provoke in us.
And, of course, we need to prepare for Russian blackmail of Europe.
The ceasefire as a maneuver of Russia to protect the military-political status quo
So, Russia is in dire need of a truce under any pretext to solve the following tasks:
● carrying out “legal formalization of accession” to the Russian Federation of both ORDLO and the occupied territories (parts of Kherson, Zaporozhye and Kharkiv regions);
● restoring the resources of weapons and army personnel after grueling battles, reformatting logistics, which was significantly broken by the strikes of Western high-precision weapons received by the Ukrainian military;
● slowdown or cessation of deliveries of more powerful and long-range Western weapons systems to the Ukrainian army;
● stopping the Ukrainian counteroffensive;
● loosening of the regime of international sanctions;
● Gaining time to reverse foreign policy and redesign economic logistics in Asia and Africa.
Russia dreams of achieving such goals by resuming the negotiation process under any formal pretext and drawing Ukraine and its Western partners into it.
Rocket coercion towards a “grain truce” is not the only possible option.
During a meeting with the leaders of the State Duma factions on July 7, 2022, Putin voiced two messages that cannot be assessed otherwise – this is blackmail, intimidation:
1. “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try … everyone should know that we, by and large, have not started anything seriously yet. ”
2. “We do not refuse peace negotiations either, but those who refuse should know that the further, the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us.”
Against this background, three obvious further reactions of Russian politicians and the military are characteristic.
1. Intensification of visits to the occupied Ukrainian territories and all groups at the front, instructions to secure the civilian infrastructure of the occupied territories from strikes by long-range systems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine;
2. Activation of statements that Kyiv is not interested in negotiations and itself refused them;
3. Statements that if negotiations are resumed now they will be held in new realities and on new conditions.
On July 11, 2022, Putin signs a decree on a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to all citizens of Ukraine, regardless of place of residence. Prior to this, this procedure applied to residents of ORDLO, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
On July 16-20, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu made several trips to the front, inspecting the Center, South, East and West groups.
The key assumption: Shoigu inspected the groups involved in the “NOR” in order to determine, relatively speaking, a new front line, on which the Russian Federation could now temporarily stop for the sake of an operational pause or subsequent “freeze” of hostilities.
That is, the activity of the Russian command may not indicate an intention to force hostilities, but the priority of protecting the already captured and organizing the legal absorption of the currently occupied territories.
Aggressive bluff as a manifestation of Russian “chimarsophobia”
Shoigu’s words about the need to ensure that “civilian infrastructure facilities in Donbass” are unattainable for long-range weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine can be interpreted as threats from Russia to move the Armed Forces even further from the borders of the occupied regions of Ukraine.
This is evidenced by the words of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in an interview with Russian media on July 20, 2022, that the geographical objectives of the operation will expand to new territories depending on the range of Western weapons supplied to Ukraine: “While the West is pumping weapons to Ukraine, it means that geographical tasks will change move further away from the current line.
The thesis about the need to expand the occupation was picked up on July 21 by ex-president Medvedev: “Ukrainian troops need to be moved away not only from Donetsk, now even wider. Away.”
Yes, it is obvious to us that given the current state of the Russian army, the above statements about expanding the geography of occupation are a bluff. The calculation is elementary and is motivated by a banal fear of a crushing defeat: to prevent the supply of long-range systems to Ukraine with a radius twice as large as it is now.
You can’t negotiate to fight – where does Russia put a comma?
Our main conclusion is that in July 2022, Russia showed interest in negotiations in a well-known rhetorical way of denying their possibility. That is, the Russian speakers insistently and synchronously state zero chances for the resumption of negotiations, but in reality they are very much striving for Ukraine to agree to negotiations.
Russian Foreign Ministry speaker Zakharova 07/18/2022: “Kyiv does not want peace and itself refused to negotiate with Moscow on instructions from Washington.”
Assistant to the President of Russia Ushakov 07/18/2022: “So far, no interest (in negotiations) from Kyiv, as well as from Western states, is visible.”
On July 20, 2022, Putin and Lavrov were “shot” with a double reproach towards Kyiv and the West.
Putin, during his visit to Tehran on July 20, 2022, mentioned the March ones: “The negotiations in Istanbul were when we actually reached an agreement. (…) We see today that the Kyiv authorities have no such desire.”
Lavrov reproached the West for discouraging Ukraine from entering into negotiations now and for encouraging the continuation of resistance by supplying arms. And at the same time he accused the United States of wanting to provoke a “real war” between Europe and Russia and unwillingness to conduct direct negotiations with the Russian Federation (read – to negotiate behind the backs of Europe and Ukraine),
Lavrov: “We hear what Scholz, Johnson, von der Leyen, and Europe’s chief diplomat Borrell are saying, that Ukraine … should not go into negotiations now, because it now has weak positions at the front. And Ukraine must first correct this situation, begin to dominate the Russian armed forces… and only then start talking from a position of strength… Our American colleagues, British colleagues want… It is beneficial for the Americans, because they are sitting behind the straits, beyond the oceans, they are far away.
Russian blackmail: from gas to nuclear
The longer the “SVO” continues, the more dangerous tools Russia chooses to encourage the EU to put pressure on Ukraine and persuade it to sit down at the negotiating table with Russia and on Russia’s terms.
In addition to the gas blackmail of Europe and attempts to split the “collective West” by the actions of individual leaders of individual states, Russia is already hinting at the possibility of using the “nuclear trump card”.
Recently, American analysts from The Institute for the Study of War warned that Putin could use nuclear threats to deter a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
It was in those days when this reservation was announced that the NNEGC “Energoatom” reported that the armed forces of the Russian Federation were trying to use the facilities of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to shelter military equipment.
Based on the foregoing, it should be taken into account that Russia has already launched the scenario of both a “nuclear deterrence” of the expected Ukrainian offensive in the south, and a “nuclear inducement” of the EU to force Ukraine into negotiations.
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Finally. On July 19, 2022, the Russian media published the results of an allegedly closed poll by VTsIOM, according to which the opinions of Russians on the course of the “NOR” were divided equally: 44% of respondents were in favor of continuing the “special operation” and peace negotiations, 12% were undecided.
There is no reason to trust Russian sociology. Most likely, the publication of such “statistics” indicates an attempt to prepare Russian society for a pause in the “victorious war”, which has dragged on for almost half a year and the end of which is not yet visible.
Tatiana GUCHAKOVA, Tatiana IVANEVICH, Andrey KLIMENKO
Monitoring group of BlackSeaNews and Black Sea Strategic Research Institute for Ukrinform
For the announcement, a fragment of the painting “Putin’s castle is on fire” by Daria Golovnina (Kharkov) was used