Amid the Russian troop movement going toward the Donbas region in what is looking like a large-scale assault on the Donbas region, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the peace talks with Ukraine were at a “dead end.” Putin accused Ukraine of not holding up its terms agreed upon in peace talks conducted in Istanbul.
In his first appearance in public after his troops retreated from Kyiv Oblast and the majority of Northern Ukraine, he vowed to continue the war and win — achieving all of their goals in Ukraine to “denazify” the country.
He accused Ukraine of derailing the progress made during the previous peace talks. Kyiv claimed Russia had committed war crimes, specifically those committed in Bucha, where an overwhelming number of civilian casualties were discovered in the city. He went on to demand security guarantees to cover the entirety of Ukraine.
“We reached a certain level of agreements in Istanbul, which stated that security guarantees for Ukraine . . . would not spread to Crimea, Sevastopol, and Donbas,” Putin revealed. “We acted to create conditions to continue talks… Instead, we faced the provocation in Bucha, and, what’s most important, the Ukrainian side deviated from the Istanbul agreements,” he added.
“We have again returned to a dead-end situation for us,” he said during a news briefing at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
The Russian President was asked whether the Kremlin could still achieve its goals in Ukraine and the Russian leader said, “Absolutely. I don’t have any doubt at all,” and added that everything was “going to plan.”
“I often hear questions whether it is possible to move any faster. It is possible. It depends on the intensity of military action, and the intensity of military action is, unfortunately, one way or another linked with losses,” the Russian President said during a media conference with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Putin says that intensifying the invasion was possible. However, he said they preferred to move “rhythmically and calmly” as it had always been their plan. In an attempt to hide its military failures in trying to seize Kyiv, he claimed that the only goal during the “first phase” of the invasion was to render Ukraine’s military infrastructure useless so that it could carry out its “liberation” of the Donbas region much quicker.
“Our goal is to help the people who live in the Donbas, who feel their unbreakable bond with Russia,” Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin describes Russia's military aims in Ukraine as "noble" and that peace talks reached a "dead end" pic.twitter.com/lyq6eNuLTC
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) April 13, 2022
Putin reiterated that it “had no choice” to invade Ukraine as it had to defend the people of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and prevent any anti-Russian sentiment from brewing.
While Russia has defined a more limited goal for itself after failing its initial invasion, many observers remain doubtful that the Russians could pull it off. What was once a country touted as having one of the best and largest militaries in the world has been proven militarily inept in the face of a determined Ukrainian resistance which has inflicted appalling casualties on the Russian army.
Many remain doubtful of their capabilities as their invasion has been nothing short of a disaster so far. They lost an unusually high number of high-ranking commanders and generals in 6 weeks of fighting. Poor logistics and supply systems meant troops without food, water, ammunition, and fuel. Subpar communications left them using UHF/VHF frequencies and cell phones in the field and Russian units were heavily dependent on green recruits with little training.
As of writing, Russia still does not have complete control over Mariupol, one of the major cities it had been bombing since the start of the war. However, reports state that Ukrainians are defending several pockets of the city that Russian forces have so far been unable to liquidate. If and when Russia finally takes this port city in Crimea it appears that they will be celebrating a victory on a pile of rubble with most of the city and its port utterly destroyed and perhaps tens of thousands of its citizens dead.
The Russian forces have also shown signs of a deadly escalation with as yet unverified reports that they have used chemical weapons in Mariupol, along with the use of cluster munitions in Kharkiv’s civilian housing areas. The deliberate targeting of civilians, rape of women and children, and the summary executions discovered in mass graces in Bucha are evidence suggesting that Russia intends to win with little regard for international conventions regarding civilized armed conflict.
In response to the West’s accusations of the Russians committing these atrocities in Bucha, Putin largely dismissed the massacre as fakes and claimed they were staged. While dead bodies and burnt-out corpses were discovered in Bucha, it could not be confirmed who exactly was responsible. However, analysts and journalists point to Russia as the perpetrator as the killings were determined to happen during their presence in the suburb, as discovered by The New York Times. Satellite images show the bodies of civilians had been laying in the streets for days prior to Russian forces retreating from the area.
“There was no such silence when provocations were staged in Syria when they portrayed the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. Then it turned out that it was fake. It’s the same kind of fake in Bucha,” Putin said.
“Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be Ukrainian.”
US President Joe Biden said for the first time on Tuesday that Russia’s actions in Ukraine amount to “genocide”.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 13, 2022
In response to Russia’s rhetoric on the matter, President Biden has accused Russia of carrying out genocide in Ukraine after previously labeling him as a “war criminal,” which drew the ire of Moscow. When asked by journalists later whether the use of the word “genocide” was intentional, he answered yes.
“Yes, I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian,” he explained. Biden added that there was mounting evidence that Putin’s troops carried out the “genocide” and that more evidence would be discovered.
“More evidence is coming out of the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine. And we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation. We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”