Moscow tries to surround Kiev | the echoes

The Russian army is almost at a standstill on the thirteenth day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, aircraft and missile bombardments continue to be fierce, particularly on the towns of Karkhiv and Soumy in the northeast and Izium in the east.

Russian troops nibbled on a patch of ground northeast of Kiev on Tuesday, hoping to launch an attack within two or three days.

The Four Horsemen of Ukraine

This apparent stalling of the Russian army could be explained by the need, before a new general offensive, to regroup and resupply: the logistic convoys are the priority target of the Ukrainian ambushes and the stocks of fuel, rations and ammunition seem to be running out. beginning of the conflict.

Added to this is the effect of what Jason Lyall, an American teacher of conflict history, calls the “four horsemen” of Ukraine: the Javelin (American anti-tank missile), the Stinger (antiaircraft), the rasputitsa (field mud). caused by the spring thaw) and TikTok (very popular social network in Ukraine). An arsenal to which have been added the Turkish drones Bayraktar and recently the Swedish short-range missiles NLaw and AT4.

Already a fifth of the losses in Afghanistan

As the situation on the ground changes slowly, the losses of men and heavy weapons seem very high, according to counts based on ground testimonies and authenticated and geolocated videos. At least 145 of the 1,000 tanks deployed were destroyed or captured, as well as about 20 fighters and a dozen helicopters.

From US sources, up to 4,500 Russian soldiers were killed in 12 days, and 6,000 from European sources (ie a quarter of the total toll from the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989). Moscow has acknowledged that 498 were killed on March 2 and Kiev claims to have killed 12,000 soldiers. The number of injured is probably four times higher than the number of dead on either side.

Diplomatic contacts still not very fruitful

However, a start of easing could take shape in the Moscow and Kiev positions. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday recalled Russian demands (recognition of the annexation of Crimea and the independence of Donbass, as well as waiving Kiev’s accession to NATO) for the demands expressed in January (withdrawal of NATO within the limits of 1999) and the demilitarization of the country and the “denazification” of the regime.

For his part, President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted in an interview with American ABC television that his enthusiasm for NATO membership was “cold”. If he continues to mention the “so-called republics of Donbass”, he said he was “open to compromise on the way people live in these areas”.

The economic war is spreading

At the same time, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the diplomatic front on Tuesday for “the utmost restraint” of the various key players, without denouncing the Russian invasion, during a meeting with French leaders Emmanuel Macron and German Olaf Scholz. Beijing had said the day before that its friendship with Russia was “boundless”. The French president, who met again on Tuesday with the Ukrainian president, received in Paris in the wake of Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

VIDEO. Joe Biden blocks US imports of Russian oil and gas

The conflict is also spreading day by day to the globalized economy. As the list of Western companies freezing or selling their operations in Russia grows every day, with Adidas and Shell on Tuesday, the European Union could add Russia’s main bank Sberbank (savings banks) to its list of financial institutions closed on Thursday. the Swift international electronic payment system.