Moscow and Kiev discuss status for Ukraine similar to Austria or Sweden

In the absence of combat aircraft, Ukraine will have drones. While the United States last week estimated that Ukraine did not need fighter jets to fight against Russian forces, despite multiple Ukrainian requests, Joe Biden announced on Wednesday the release of another $800 million to provide military aid to Ukraine, including sending 100 drones to fight against Russian artillery-pounding cities. According to a military source quoted by AFP, these are “Switchblade”, so-called “kamikaze” drones that explode on contact with the target and whose smaller model makes it possible to destroy light armored vehicles.

The reference to Pearl Harbor

The announcement came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a video address to US Congress urging the United States to provide Ukraine with more weapons to withstand Russia’s aerial bombardment, and invited US lawmakers to join the attack on Pearl Harbor. in 1941 and the September 11, 2001 attacks.

If Joe Biden opposes Ukrainian demands to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine because, in his words, it could spark a third world war, the United States will therefore provide more muscular military aid.

Russian S-300s

In addition to the drones, this $800 million envelope is “iincludes 800 anti-aircraft systems to enable the Ukrainian military to continue to stop attacks from aircraft and helicopters (Ukraine),” said Joe Biden, specifying that these anti-aircraft systems would include missiles with a range greater than the Stingers already deliveredAccording to the same US military source, these are Russian S-300s, competitors of the first generation of the US Patriot, which may have come from certain countries of the former Soviet bloc that still have them, notably Slovakia and Bulgaria. Weapons that the Ukrainian army has mastered well. The United States has them too. In December 1994, after the collapse of the USSR, they had received a part from Belarus. In addition to these S-300s, Washington will also send 800 new Stinger portable surface-to-air missile launchers, effective against helicopters and low-flying aircraft, which will add to the more than 600 Stingers already delivered.

The United States will also supply 9,000 anti-tank systems (including 2,000 Javelins) and 7,000 light weapons such as submachine guns, assault rifles, pistols and grenade launchers.

Fear of Russian chemical and bacteriological weapons

Ukraine and Western powers fear that Russia will use chemical or bacteriological weapons. In that case, it would be Russia’s fault and it would lead to “massive and radical” economic sanctions against Moscow, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned in an interview with Le Parisien.

“If there were attacks with chemical or bacteriological agents in Ukraine, we would know who would be solely responsible. It would be Russia. Unfortunately, we are used to his disinformation actions from Syria,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said in this. interview. Wednesday evening online.

What if Vladimir Putin’s failure in Ukraine could be worse than a victory?

“It goes without saying that using unconventional means would be an intolerable escalation and lead to absolutely massive and radical economic sanctions, without taboos,” he adds.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has in recent days expressed concern that Russia may be resorting to chemical attacks in Ukraine. Moscow, in return, accuses the United States of developing biological weapons labs in the country, a claim that Washington considers fantasy. In his interview, Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Russia of being involved in Ukraine, where the Russian army launched a major offensive on February 24, in a “dramatic process of prolonged brutality”. The Russian logic, the head of French diplomacy believes, “is based on the usual triptych: indiscriminate bombings, so-called humanitarian ‘corridors’ designed to then accuse the adversary of disrespecting them and conversations for no other purpose than to pretend to negotiate”. Without a ceasefire, he says, any progress in the talks will be impossible “because you don’t negotiate with a gun to your head.”

Towards a compromise on the status of Ukraine?

However, Kiev and Moscow discussed on Wednesday certain avenues likely to lead to a compromise over Ukraine’s status, and outlined hopes for a possible way out of the crisis after three weeks of war. Volodimir Zelensky said negotiations between the two sides were becoming “more realistic” and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said an agreement could be reached on a language under discussion. Vladimir Putin, who ordered the launch of Russia’s massive military offensive against Ukraine on Feb. 24, said Moscow was ready to discuss neutral status for its neighbor.

However, the Kremlin chief added that Russia would achieve its goals in Ukraine and that the West would fail in what he believed to be an attempt at world domination and the disintegration of his country. The Russian attack, which Moscow presents as a “special operation”, is taking place as planned, he assured during an intervention before his ministers broadcast on state television.

“A status of neutrality is now being seriously discussed, alongside, of course, security guarantees,” Sergei Lavrov said.

“There are absolutely precise terms that are almost agreed upon in my opinion.” Russia’s top negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said on state television:

“Ukraine offers an Austrian or Swedish version of a neutral demilitarized state, but at the same time a state with its own army and navy.”

In a clear sign of openness, Volodimir Zelensky said on Tuesday that Ukraine is ready to accept security guarantees from Western countries, even if it means abandoning its long-term goal of joining NATO.

The head of the Ukrainian delegation to the talks, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Kiev still demanded a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops and wanted direct negotiations between Volodimir Zelensky and Vladimir Putin.

As Russia presents the demilitarization and neutrality of Ukraine as the main objectives of its “operation”, with the “denazification” of the country, Kiev and its allies believe that Moscow’s real aim is to increase the pro-Western power of the elected government. to expel Ukraine.

For Biden, Putin is a “war criminal”

lSpeaking to a reporter at the White House on Wednesday, the US president replied, “Oh, I think he’s a war criminal,” after initially replying in the negative when asked if he was willing to use those terms to denounce the head of the White House. designate Kremlin. This is the first time Joe Biden has made such comments, which the Kremlin considers “unacceptable and unforgivable”. Last week, on a visit to Poland, US Vice President Kamala Harris said Russia should be “absolutely” investigated for war crimes in Ukraine. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki later explained that Joe Biden had spoken from his heart and that investigations would reveal whether Vladimir Putin violated international law and committed war crimes, a lawsuit currently pending by the US Department of Justice.

(with Reuters)

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