Moscow torpedoes the “Syrian” general And offers occupied ports to export grain

from Francesco Battistini

Commander of “Special Military Operation” Dvornikov replaced by Deputy Defense Minister Zhidko. And Lavrov’s spokesperson closes a Zelensky-Putin meeting: “It doesn’t make sense”

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KIEV – «Victory will be ours». “We will achieve all the objectives set”. A hundred days, a thousand bales. Volodymyr Zelensky has to give morale to the exhausted troops and in the usual video fights the pessimism of data with the optimism of dreams: “The three words for which we have been fighting for a hundred days and after eight years – recalls the Ukrainian president – are peace, victory, Ukraine”.

Three words that don’t seem to mean much at the moment, looking at the theater of war:
a hundred days and a hundred soldiers dead every day
, says the archbishop of Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, a front that is dangerously retreating constantly. The words opposed by Moscow – reaching the set goals – sound bad too, though: the self-proclaimed republic of Lugansk is now 90% conquered, but to take Donetsk «it will take a long time», Analyzes the British Defense, with inevitable losses that Vladimir Putin tolerates less and less.

The war news live

On the field

Perhaps the sudden torpedoing of the general is also connected to this Aleksandr Dvornikov, “the butcher of Syria” who ran the “Special Military Operation”: the change was in the air, even if the revelation is of a Russian investigative site and the Kremlin does not confirm why Dvornikov had no longer appeared in the images of military leaders in Moscow for two weeks. Just two months after the appointment, as happened for the removed general, such sinking is rare in Russia and that’s why Putin’s discontent is whispered: Dvornikov, on his chest the medal collection won in the Syrian war, until the end he would have convinced the Kremlin leader of the uselessness of calling the over 40s to arms. A choice that perhaps paid off with his resignation: the course of the war, the too long sieges of Mariupol and now Severodonetsk would have made the Tsar impatient, prompting him to change his mind about enlisting even the most elderly and, therefore, to change horses. In place of the “Syrian butcher”, the most loyal Deputy Minister of Defense, Gennady Zhidko, would arrive.

Diplomacy

The stalemate is evident. On the military level, the Russians do not seem to change their strategy at the moment. On the diplomatic one, Putin understood the risks that the grain blockade entails for Africans – there is an entire continent in alarm – suddenly loosens: “No problem – he says – to export from Ukraine ». From Mariupol and Berdiansk, «we are ready to offer safe passage to ships using these portseven to the Ukrainian ones “(which, however, those ports can no longer use).


As for direct negotiations for a ceasefire, still black smoke: Moscow continues to close. A Putin-Zelensky meeting? “I see no sense in discussing this issue, not even in theory,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. While the Ukrainians claim to have gained some ground in the last few hours, in Severodonetsk, and theperemptory order is to hold out until the Himars missile launchers come into action the longer range that the US is sending. The call to the barricades is mobilizing all available mercenaries, the Ukrainian Foreign Legion is full of Georgians and Europeans: a French “volunteer” died, several foreign fighters were injured on the front line. The one hundred and first day promises to be the same as the other hundred.


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