A few days ago there was a phone call between Pentagon chief Austin and the Russian Defense Minister Shoigu. And yesterday, new signs of détente came to try to find a solution to the conflict in Ukraine, with a new phone call: this time between the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley and his counterpart in Moscow, Valery Gerasimov. Interview conducted four days after the first ice-breaking contact between the two countries’ defense ministers.
top military leaders Russia And United State He had been involved in head-to-head confrontation throughout the period leading up to the invasionUkraine. The line was cut at the start of hostilities on February 24, and its reopening signals a second step toward what would be a window to start negotiations to resolve the conflict. Although Washington seems certain of one fact: «Despite the successes of the Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, it is unlikely that the Russians will be rejected by the Donbass and the south of the country. And – according to a senior Pentagon official – this will mean that the conflict will be long.
However, the desire for an agreement was accompanied by a strong message of US support for Kiev: the Senate approved by a very large majority (86 votes to 11) a package of 40 billion euros in economic and humanitarian aid. . And the military for Ukraine, which was delayed last week by the opposition of one protester, liberal Rand Paul. On the same day, the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of the new ambassador to Kyiv referred to by President Joe Biden: Bridget Brinkle, former chief of diplomacy of Slovakia.
Washington finances the resistance of the country that Russia is attacking with its right hand, but opens the other as a sign of peace towards Moscow. The news site Politico reported the statements of three Pentagon officials, stating that the US administration has been resisting pressure from the Kyiv government for months to send long-range missile systems. Zelensky specifically ordered three MLRS-class units on the list of weapons he wanted to acquire from the United States with greater urgency. Launching units capable of hitting targets up to 165 km, and in the HIMARS class up to 500 km. The United States fears that once the Ukrainians are in their hands, the military leadership may decide to use them to target the Russians inside their territory, and that such use may escalate the war, with Moscow accusing Washington of controlling it. An active role in a direct attack on its sovereignty. In fact, the military assistance that left for Ukraine included only howitzer launchers, which are capable of a very limited range.
The plan presented yesterday by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio is on the table of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. A four-point document that Moscow currently said it did not know but welcomed favorably. The Kremlin – spokesman for Dmitry Peskov – said he was not aware of the Italian plan to quickly reach a ceasefire in Ukraine and then open peace negotiations. “Unfortunately, so far we don’t have any news about the details of this plan – as he specified -. I don’t know if it was broadcast through diplomatic channels. We welcome the participation of anyone who can help reach an agreement. No one rejects any kind of effort.” Sincere.”
The document in Farnesina in close coordination with Palazzo Chigi was foreseen in part to the Sherpas of the G7 and the Quint Group (USA, Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy). It anticipates a four-step path, under the auspices of the International Facilitating Group (GIF): a ceasefire, Ukraine’s possible neutrality, regional issues – notably Crimea and Donbass – and a new European and international security pact. At each step, the loyalty of the parties to the commitments they made will be tested, so that you can proceed to the next stage.
The first step is a ceasefire, negotiated during the fighting. The premise is that the cessation of hostilities is accompanied by mechanisms of supervision and disarmament of the front to discuss the open knot and pave the way for a final cessation of hostilities. The second step is about multilateral negotiations on the future international status of Ukraine. The third point, diplomatically hotter, concerns the definition of the bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine on regional issues, again after international mediation. On the other hand, the fourth phase envisages the proposal of a new multilateral agreement on peace and security in Europe, in the context of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Neighborhood Policy of the European Union.
Meanwhile, on the negotiating front, Moscow appears to be extending a helping hand to Kyiv, but in this case, there is little light. Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko stated that it was not Russia that boycotted the negotiation process, “which was stopped” by the Ukrainians, and stressed that “as soon as they express their desire to return to the negotiating table, our response will be positive.” He explained, provided that “there are things that need to be discussed.” But the Ukrainians remained sticking to their red line: “A ceasefire is impossible without the complete withdrawal of Russian forces,” replied presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolak. The only conciliatory signal came from the General Staff, according to which the Russians will “keep their word” on the evacuations from Azovstal. Meanwhile, Ukraine is playing a parallel game of EU membership, with the aim of obtaining candidate status at least in June, but here too there are obstacles. Especially since Germany (and beyond) opposed a faster-than-standard procedure.
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