Crisis in Ukraine likely to escalate amid stalled talks and growing hostility

(Left to right, front) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin arrive by helicopter at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Photo: The Paper

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the situation in Ukraine a “tragedy” and peace talks were at an “impasse” during his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, saying economic sanctions imposed on Russia by nations in the world had “failed” and he had no intention of withdrawing from a military campaign.

Western media have reported that Russia is planning a new operation to end or make significant progress in its military operation in Ukraine by May 9, Victory Day, to celebrate the victory of the former Soviet Union over Nazi Germany, with a decisive battle in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

Chinese analysts said on Tuesday that the positive trend achieved by previous peace talks in Turkey was ruined, and the West and Ukraine are likely to miscalculate Russia, making negotiations difficult to resume.

The redeployment of Russian troops to eastern Ukraine after Russia announced it would reduce military activities around kyiv could be a signal that Russia is preparing for a massive new operation, as the new incidents emerging, as the alleged “massacre” of Bucha, widely publicized by the Western media but still without conclusions of an independent international investigation, has increased the hostility between the two parties, and they have almost no room for a compromise for achieve a ceasefire, experts said.

After the latest round of Russian-Ukrainian talks in Turkey last month, Ukrainian leaders said they were ready to accept a formal neutral status for the country, ruling out NATO membership and agreeing to some constraints on its military. , in exchange for the end of the war.

But Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar told media on Thursday that applying for NATO membership is a goal enshrined in the country’s constitution, and that will not change. In other words, Ukraine changed its tone after the peace talks and returned to toughness.

The most dangerous sign is that with the support and incitement of the West, Ukraine is becoming increasingly confident to achieve its goal through military measures instead of peace talks, and the West and Kyiv are likely to miscalculate Russia as they might believe that Moscow is losing and unable to proceed with the operation. This would lead to an escalation of the current conflict, military analysts noted.

Intense situation

Ukraine said on Monday it expected Russia to launch an offensive in the eastern Donbas region soon, Reuters reported. The Financial Times also reported that signs that Russia was approaching a major new offensive in eastern Ukraine surfaced on Monday as “U.S. defense officials reported that troops withdrawn from kyiv and surrounding areas were being resupplied and reinforced by the Kremlin for redeployment in the Donbass region”. .”

On March 26, Russia said it would focus its military operation in Ukraine on the “liberation” of the east, signaling a possible change in its strategy as Russia said the main tasks of the first stage of the operation had been performed. US media outlet Axios also reported that ‘the next four weeks’ – leading up to an annual Victory Day celebration in Moscow – are a crucial and extremely dangerous period in Russia’s war on Ukraine, officials said. Americans and other connoisseurs of Russian military history.

Cui Hongjian, director of the European studies department at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the conflict has turned into a temporary stalemate, and it is “a time when both sides could easily make calculation errors.

From Moscow’s point of view, he does not see himself as losing and he is able to redeploy his troops for new missions and has an advantage; but from Kyiv’s point of view, he sees Russia losing and withdrawing, so Ukrainian troop morale is rising and the West will also build support, Cui noted, noting that “this is an extremely sensitive moment, and once a serious miscalculation occurs, the conflict would escalate.”

The Ukrainian government has recently invited several Western leaders to the country to show more support, and kyiv is trying to show that it has gained an advantage over Russian offensives around the capital, and Western elites are now planning to provide the Ukraine more heavy weapons, including tanks and fighter jets. This shows that the West and Ukraine are becoming increasingly confident as they believe Russia will lose, analysts said.

But the facts could be different from what the West and kyiv expect. Russia has suffered limited damage from battles in Ukraine and Western sanctions, and Russian troops have remained strong against Ukrainian forces, and Moscow is in a position to launch another offensive in Donbass, said Song Zhongping, an expert. Chinese military and TV commentator, noting that “the West is actually trying to start a massive battle in eastern Ukraine to escalate the conflict and make Russia suffer while Ukraine continues to bleed.”

The West will lose nothing and may even sell more weapons for profit, but Ukrainians will certainly be the victims, and more casualties will occur, Song noted.

Difficult to restart the talks

Chinese analysts believe that at this stage negotiations are unlikely to resume as the West, particularly NATO, continues to add fuel to the fire. Cui said the weapons supplied by NATO to Ukraine are becoming more offensive rather than defensive, and how Russia assesses this trend is significant.

“If Russia tolerates these arms deliveries, its cost will increase and the situation will become more and more unfavorable. But if Russia decides to stop foreign arms deliveries to Ukraine, it could target members of the ‘NATO and the conflict would escalate,’ Cui said.

Poland, a member of NATO and a country bordering Ukraine, is becoming more and more actively involved in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Song noted that Poland was playing the role of a transfer station to transport all the weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine, and more dangerously, Poland also engaged in friction with the close ally of the Russia, Belarus.

According to euronews.com on Monday, Belarusian border guards accused Polish forces of attacking them using a slingshot and “metal balls”.

Polish border authorities allegedly committed “illegal actions” at a checkpoint near the city of Brest, Belarus, the authority said. “On the night of April 10, Polish soldiers fired at the Belarusian road checkpoint in Peschatka,” read a Belarusian statement.

These could lead to an escalation and become a conflict between Russia and NATO, Song noted.

Cui said that talks between Russia and Ukraine are difficult, but talks between NATO and Russia, or the United States and Russia, are necessary because Ukraine cannot offer what Russia wants or effectively solve Russia’s security problems, and if the United States and Russia could reach an agreement on NATO expansion, an escalation could be avoided.

However, the possibility of such an engagement is low because the United States and NATO would like to see an escalation and they are confident of beating Russia, and that is why the situation is dangerous, analysts said.