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Jun 2, 2022
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Russia changed its mind about taking Kyiv

Russia changed its mind about taking Kyiv

Photo: AP/TASS

In Russia, none of the first persons ever spoke about the desire to capture Kyiv, this would become a problem due to the large territory and population of the city, said the Russian ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin.

“None of our leaders, neither the president nor anyone else, has ever said that we would like to capture Kyiv. I do not believe that it is possible to capture or occupy Kyiv. It’s a big city,” he said.

Kelin also believes that there is no need to increase the number of Russian troops in Ukraine.

“We’ll deal with it [положением на Украине] through an operation carried out by conventional means <…> You may have noticed that we did not increase the number of our troops. We believe that they are enough to deal with this situation,” the ambassador added.

What does it mean? Is denazification and demilitarization possible without the capture of Kyiv?

And then the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov said that the unconditional priority in the course of the Russian special operation in Ukraine is the liberation of Donbass, and the inhabitants of the remaining territories where it takes place will have to decide their own future.

What about the rest? Is the Kremlin again counting on an agreement with the West?

“It seems to me that the statement reflects the real intentions of Moscow before the start of the special operation in Ukraine,” he said. political commentator Dmitry Galkin.

– The Russian leadership certainly did not intend to capture Kyiv with the help of military force. As far as one can judge, the calculation was that after the approach of Russian troops to the outskirts of Kyiv, the Ukrainian authorities would leave the city. That control will pass into the hands of pro-Russian forces, who will need Russian help only to crush the resistance of certain relatively small groups that remain loyal to the government Zelensky.

It is difficult to say what the belief in the existence of such pro-Russian forces was based on. Most likely, the Russian leadership was simply deceived by its partners and agents in the Ukrainian political space.

As you know, there were no pro-Russian forces in Kyiv. But the actions of Russian troops during the first week of the conflict were clearly based on the expectation of an anti-government uprising in the Ukrainian capital, which simply needs to come to the rescue. Only this can explain the fact that the advanced units were left without supplies, and the outskirts of Kyiv were occupied by relatively small formations that could neither move on nor hold the captured positions.

Significantly, Russian troops made significant efforts to capture the military airfield, which can only be explained by the belief that power in Kyiv would soon be seized by pro-Russian forces, and the airfield could be freely used to capture other Ukrainian regions. No assault on Kyiv by Russian forces was clearly intended.

“SP”: – The Ambassador also doubted the possibility of capturing such a large city. What is the army for then?

— As the experience of recent decades shows, military operations in a large urban agglomeration lead to the almost complete destruction of infrastructure and residential buildings. In order to be convinced of this, it is enough to remember what Grozny, Aleppo or Mosul looked like after the anti-government forces were driven out of there.

Obviously, in Kyiv, which is an extremely densely populated city, the destruction would be catastrophic and the civilian casualties would be enormous. In order to avoid them, a months-long siege or the collapse of the Ukrainian armed forces would be needed. If the Ukrainian army would have fled, as happened with the troops Saddam Hussein during the American invasion of Iraq, Kyiv would have been able to be occupied without any problems.

It seems to me that the Russian authorities were counting on such a course of events. But when it became clear that the Ukrainian troops were ready to conduct street battles in Kyiv, the Russian command made, in my opinion, the only right decision, withdrew the troops from Kyiv.

“SP”: – We are constantly talking about the mandatory implementation of all the declared goals of the NWO: denazification and demilitarization. Is this possible without the occupation of Kyiv?

– To be honest, I don’t understand what the term “denazification” means. Ukrainian legislation provides for rather severe penalties for participation in the activities of Nazi organizations. If the Russian authorities are going to enforce Ukrainian laws in practice, then they really need a fully controlled Ukrainian government.

It is necessary to be able to direct the activities of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. And not only in Kyiv, but also in the field. Most likely, Russian plans assumed that as soon as the Russian military units crossed the border, the Ukrainian leadership, including the military command, would simply flee the country. As you know, this did not happen. Therefore, creating a Ukrainian government controlled by Moscow, which would control most of the territory of Ukraine and could count on international recognition, is clearly not going to work.

As for demilitarization, now the Ukrainian army is much better armed than before the outbreak of hostilities. So the achievement of this goal is also unattainable, and the Russian authorities no longer mention it.

“SP”: – Here Lavrov adds fuel to the fire, calling the liberation of Donbass the unconditional priority of the special operation. And the rest can not be released?

– The Russian leadership is aware that the achievement of the originally stated goals is in question. More precisely, their achievement would require a huge effort and significant resources. The result of such actions would be a severe socio-economic crisis, from which Russia may not get out without heavy geopolitical concessions.

Therefore, the Russian government sets itself the tasks that it can solve without resorting to emergency measures and without endangering the integrity of Russia in order to control most of the Ukrainian regions.

“SP”: – At the same time, Lavrov does not believe that the sanctions will be lifted after the end of the NWO. In your opinion, does anyone in Moscow believe that it is possible to stop at the liberation of the Donbass or the whole of Novorossia, and make friends with the West again?

— It’s hard for me to even imagine what reserve of optimism you need to have in order to count on the fact that the Russian leadership will be able in the foreseeable future to restore relations with the US and the EU at least at the level at which they were before February 24.

But as long as hostilities continue, Washington and London have the ability to put pressure on European countries, forcing them to agree to a further increase in anti-Russian sanctions. In addition, not only Western banks and corporations, but also the economic structures of other countries, including those that are quite benevolent towards Russia, will try to reduce relations with Russia as much as possible. First of all, because of the fear of falling under new sanctions.

Russian corporations have effectively lost access to foreign financial resources, and their logistics schemes are being destroyed as transport and insurance companies refuse to cooperate with them. As soon as the hostilities stop, the threat of increased sanctions will disappear (perhaps some will even be relaxed), and the situation in the field of international economic cooperation for Russia will improve significantly. Therefore, the cessation of hostilities is necessary for Moscow not in order to restore relations with the West, but in order to stop the isolation of the Russian economy.

“I believe Ambassador Kelin is trying to inform the Western public that nothing extraordinary is happening in Ukraine,” notes secretary of the political council of the “Other Russia” E.V. Limonov” * Alexander Averin.

— But it is unlikely that this point of view at the present time can be at least somewhat popular in Britain. Mr. Kaelin’s attempts to please Britain are pointless.

“SP”: – And if in essence – about the “capture” of Kyiv?

– Taking Kyiv is really very difficult. This is a big city, and Russia cannot scatter the lives of our soldiers during an assault.

However, one must understand that the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine without occupying the capital, political and financial center, which is Kyiv, is impossible. So our troops will inevitably find themselves again in Gostomel, and even in Kyiv itself. The question is only in terms and in the price that will have to be paid for it. In any case, our opponent will pay an order of magnitude more.

“SP”: – Are there any signs of “drain” in Kelin’s words? So Lavrov argues that we only need to liberate Donbass…

“Let’s just call his unfortunate phrase a mistake.

We, the citizens of Russia, remember the 1996 Khasavyurt conspiracy. Therefore, words like those spoken by Minister Lavrov in an interview with a French television channel cause a certain amount of tension. At the same time, Mr. Lavrov says that in relation to the former Ukrainian territories, the inhabitants of these areas should decide their future.

I think Lavrov’s words are just a euphemism, and the future of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine has already been decided. They will not return to Ukraine. Well, the future of other regions of Ukraine will be decided by the situation on the fronts. The more Russia pays for the implementation of the goals of the operation, the more radical will be our demands for the outcome of the peace agreement.

Certainly, there are political forces in Moscow that would like to negotiate with the West. However, an iron curtain has already descended across Europe. It is impossible to return to the past. The question now is how cold the new Cold War will be. As we can see, Europe’s dependence on Russian resources (and this is not only oil and gas, but also, for example, metals) has been underestimated. It is possible that the conditions in the ongoing economic war will be set not by the enemy, but by our side. Well, it will be possible to talk about the possibility of detente in ten years, hardly earlier.


* The organization is not registered by the Ministry of Justice of Russia.

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