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Ukraine: 100 days… what next? | War in Ukraine

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President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledges that Russia occupies 20% of his country’s territory and that Ukrainian troops have been losing between 60 and 100 soldiers a day since mid-May. Even if he admits that the reconquest will be longhe has just declared, in the first days of June, that the victory will be ours.

In Moscow, people are less talkative than in kyiv. The Kremlin hides behind a thick wall of propaganda – or silence – about what is really going on. During this time, the Ukrainian side maintains skilful and incessant war communication, a discourse on the whole less removed from reality than that of Moscow.

Vladimir Putin said that Russia achieved certain results in the Battle of Donbass. What does he mean by that?

Lies and pretences

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin would now be more focused on taking over the Donbass (archives).

Photo: Reuters/MIKHAIL METZEL

War is also lies, pretenses, pretences, dissimulations or exaggerations. In this matter, Putin and the Russian regime do not give their place. We sow false leads: we say one thing one day and the opposite the next. We saw it with this show of negotiations in April.

In addition, there is, in the official story told by Russian television, an element of parallel realityof phantasmagoria, for example when one speaks there, with the greatest seriousness, of the Nazi regime of kyiv, an evil tale, a “Bonhomme Sept-Heures”, invented to hold on a leash the captive audience of the official media of Moscow.

With this short sphinx saying – some results are achieved – the Kremlin suggests that a limited gain in Donbass could now satisfy Putin. In fact, Russia has swallowed its initial dreams of conquering Ukraine or bringing down the Zelensky government – ​​at least in the short and medium term.

Today, Moscow seems to fall back on the two regions of Donbass (the “oblasts” of Lugansk and Donetsk – not to be confused with the two cities of the same name), plus Crimea, plus a strip of land between the two , including the martyr city of Mariupol: roughly, the 20%, that’s it.

Added to this is the singular case of Kherson, at the gates of Crimea, a city conquered without massacre or destruction, but where a deaf resistance is organized.

An ambulance and a building were damaged by Russian bombs.

Attacks intensify in Sievierodonetsk.

Photo: Reuters / SERHII NUZHNENKO

The Donbass is precisely the addition of these two regions. With the appalling ongoing massacre in Sievierodonetsk, Lugansk Oblast is virtually in Russian hands. What is not true, on the other hand, of the oblast of Donetsk – which, him, is taken only with approximately 50%… and where the Ukrainians fight meter by meter.

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kyiv against any territorial compromise

The Ukrainian leaders repeat that, for them, any territorial compromise is excluded. Their line is to say: We want to reconquer our country, our whole country, because if today Putin is left with this territory conquered at the cost of our blood, with his speech of hatred and negation of our people […]it will only fuel the beast and encourage it to start again as soon as it can.

Here, we can speak of a demand for justice, as opposed to the approach of peace at all costs. And this point of view is widely shared in Ukraine, according to polls that we manage, even in times of war, to do there.

The American channel NBC quoted one on June 3, conducted in May by the International Institute of Sociology in kyiv: we learn, unsurprisingly, that 82% of Ukrainians think – despite the horrors they endure – that they do not should not give up territorythat it is necessary to reconquer all that has been uprooted.

Dressed in a bulletproof vest and accompanied by an armed soldier, Volodymyr Zelensky surveys the damage in Kharkiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits a site damaged by Russian military strikes in Kharkiv on May 29, 2022.

Photo: via Reuters / Office of the Ukrainian Presidency

In this speech, it is argued that the fundamental drive of Putin’s Russia is the annihilation of Ukraine. This view argues, in sum, that Russia’s defeat in this war is a moral imperative, in addition to a security imperative. A bit like, in 1945, the total defeat of Germany – and not a compromise with Germany – was an objective on which it was impossible to negotiate.

This intransigence of the Ukrainians vis-à-vis Moscow does not necessarily amount to saying that Putin’s Russia equals Hitler’s Germanybut reflects their total lack of illusions about the possibility of a compromise with their attacker.

Diminishing solidarity in the West?

There is also the outside point of view, that of Europeans, Americans, Westerners in general who, despite their active solidarity over the past three months, do not necessarily see it that way.

This point of view – let’s call it the “peace point of view”, but with support for the Ukrainians – says that a compromise, in the end, is inevitable and that care, empathy, determination and the ability to providing aid, from the Europeans and the Americans, will end up diminishing, going down.

A soldier holds a missile in his hands.

A Ukrainian soldier carrying a Javelin, an American-made rocket launcher, in the kyiv region on March 13, 2022.

Photo: Reuters/GLEB GARANICH

In Germany, in Italy, this point of view is expressed. Even President Joe Biden, an unwavering and generous supporter until now of the Ukrainian government, says that there will have to be negotiations to put an end to this war .

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This point of view, which is growing, is coupled with skepticism as to the objective possibility of a total reconquest of their territory by the Ukrainians. So, we say that sooner or later we will have to sit down to talk about a ceasefire, and, yes, territorial concessions. And that, to do this, it will be necessary to exert pressure on the Ukrainian friends, even if it is to compromise with the devil

The war that will last

In the meantime, on the horizon of 200 days (the end of summer), this war seems to be settling in for the long term. We will have to see if the arms deliveries continue, if they reach their goal, if they change the situation in the coming weeks.

According to many analysts such as those at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, or even British military intelligence – both generous in analyzing the evolution of the fronts – there is a possibility of mutual blockage , of frozen war.

The Russians would soon be stopped; they would have to give up their dream of pushing towards Odessa, but they would cling to their strip of ground in the east and southeast. And the Ukrainians wouldn’t be able to kick them out. Plausible scenario.

At the moment, the Russian army is putting the package – practically everything it has on hand – in the Lugansk oblast, on a quadrilateral of 50 kilometers by 100 that has become hell on Earth. A deluge of fire and metal is cruelly applied to it in order to then be able to declare victory.

This tactical gain indeed seems within reach, but at what cost? At the cost of a systematic destruction of the territory conquered. It’s here Russian methodalready applied in Syria between 2015 and 2017 (particularly in East Aleppo), at the cost of the atrocious suffering of civilians and the destruction of industry and the land that we have just take.

There is another probable price for this furious localized offensive of the Russian army: it is possible that it will then find itself on the verge of exhaustion, lacking resources in men and material.

A battered winner, in short, at most capable of maintaining the meager positions won… and again.

Our file War in Ukraine

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