Posted by Curt on 3 February, 2023 at 10:32 am. 13 comments already!


By MoA

The Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung published a piece today (in German) which claimed that CIA boss William Burns had offered 20% of Ukraine to Russia in exchange for peace in Ukraine.
As Newsweek summarizes:

NZZ reported on Thursday, citing high-ranking German foreign politicians, that in mid-January, Burns presented Kyiv and Moscow with a peace plan that would put an end to the war, which began when Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.According to the newspaper, the proposal offered “around 20 percent of Ukraine’s territory”—about the size of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

The Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov, the White House and the CIA rejected the claim:

A CIA official told Newsweek that claims in the NZZ report that Burns took a secret trip to Moscow in January and that there was a peace proposal put forward by the director on behalf of the White House were “completely false.”Last month, Burns traveled in secret to meet and brief Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, the Washington Post reported.

The Neue Züricher says that Kiev as well as Moscow had rejected the U.S. plan.
That everyone is denying that this happened means that the Züricher claims are likely true.
We know that talks between Washington and Kiev are ongoing.
On January 30 Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was in Egypt and met with its Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. A day later Shourky flew to Russia and met its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Egyptian media reported that Shoukry carried a letter from Blinken:

The Egyptian state-owned news outlet Al-Ahram reported that Shoukry delivered a message to Lavrov from Blinken. The message appears to be in reference urging a halt to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
“Russia should stop these actions in order for negotiations to succeed,” was the message, according to Al-Ahram.
…A State Department spokesperson told Al-Monitor that Blinken has had a consistent message that Russia should stop the war in Ukraine and remove its forces from the country for the sake of peace. The message he gave to Shoukry did not differ from this, according to the spokesperson.Lavrov described the proposal as “incomplete.” Lavrov also praised Egypt’s “balanced” approach to the war in Ukraine. Lavrov further said Russia would continue to engage with Egypt on the Ukraine issue, Al-Ahram reported, citing the press conference.
“We will stay in touch. And I trust that this will be in the interest of the friendship between the two countries,” said Lavrov.

In sum: Russia has accepted Shourkry’s role as a middleman in the negotiations but wants a better offer from Washington.
We will see what will comes from this.
The U.S. knows that Ukraine’s army is not able to hold the current defense line in its east. The fear is that it will run away when the line is breached.
Ukraine has already pulled several brigades from the Bakhmut/Artyomovsk line to plug holes in other defense lines (Ugledar, Kremmina). On January 17, using the deployment map by Military Land, I counted 27 Ukrainian brigade equivalents in that area. The map now shows only 18 Ukrainian brigade equivalents on the Soledar-Bakhmut line.

January 17 – 27 Ukrainian Brigade equivalents

Source: Military Land Deployment Map – bigger

February 3 – 18 Ukrainian Brigade equivalents

Source: Military Land Deployment Map – bigger

Ukraine will soon give up on the city.
The Ukrainian death toll in the city must be extremely high:

[Mykola] Bielieskov, [a research fellow at Ukraine’s National Institute for Strategic Studies,] Bielieskov said that Ukraine compensates for its lack of heavy equipment with people who are ready to stand to the last.“Lightly armed, without sufficient artillery support, which they cannot always be provided, they stand and hold off attacks as long as possible,” he said.
The result is that the battle is believed to have produced horrific troop losses for both Ukraine and Russia. Quite how deadly isn’t known: Neither side is saying.
…Along the front line on the Ukrainian side, emergency medical units provide urgent care to battlefield casualties. From 50 to 170 wounded Ukrainian soldiers pass daily through just one of the several stabilization points along the Donetsk front line, according to Tetiana Ivanchenko, who has volunteered in eastern Ukraine since a Russia-backed separatist conflict started there in 2014.

Russia has increased the intensity of the fight:

Russian artillery barrages had risen from an average of about 60 per day four weeks ago to more than 90 per day last week. On one day alone, 111 Ukrainian locations were targeted.
…On Tuesday, Russian forces hit Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut with short-range artillery 197 times, and the two sides clashed some 42 times, Ukraine’s military said, significantly more than a month ago. Ukrainian forces beat back Russian soldiers, assaulting their lines time and again, the military said.

The above confirms the artillery engagement numbers given in the daily reports of the Russia Defense Ministry. It also confirms that Russia has no lack of artillery ammunition.
But despite that the New York Times is again stenographing implausible claims of high Russian casualties:

Read more

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x