A Quick Decisive Victory Can Prevent a Wider War
Paul Craig Roberts
I am beginning to think Russia will lose the war, and her credibility with it, to negotiation. For the third time the Kremlin has taken the negotiation bait. According to the Russian news agency Tass, Russian and Ukrainian delegations will meet at an undisclosed location in Belarus for talks Monday morning. This is odd. The Kremlin had previously concluded that it was pointless negotiating with Ukraine, because Ukraine is a Washington puppet incapable of independent decision.
While the talks are happening, the Europeans will be supplying fighter jets to Ukraine via Poland. This despite the death and destruction Putin warned would come to those who interfered with Russia’s Ukraine operation. Thus, the Kremlin seems to be again cooperating with the Ukraine’s efforts to beef up resistance when Russia needs to quickly win the war. https://www.rt.com/news/550796-eu-fighter-jets-ukraine/
It is beginning to look like the Kremlin never meant to fight. According to reports, the Russians have only committed 30 percent of the assembled invasion force to the conflict, and apparently the Kremlin is too fearful its troops might endanger civilians to trust them with the heavy weapons that would bring the war to a quick close.
I stress the word, “looks.” We don’t actually know. The Western media is a propaganda mill that never reports truthfully. The Ukrainians issue fanciful reports like the Iraqis during the US invasion of Iraq. The Russian media seems to have a policy of not reporting on the war. I have not seen an announcement from Russian officials about how they regard the success of the operation.
The Saker has not commented on the diplomatic front or what the increasing European and US involvement might mean. On the military front, he provides an assessment that indicates Russian success. Indeed, the success he describes raises questions about the purpose of Monday’s negotiations.
Saker reports that the Russian advance from the South and from the North are close to trapping about 10-12 Ukrainian Brigades in a cauldron where they are cut off and surrounded. Kharkov has fallen to the Russians who are conducting mopping up operations. Kiev is almost surrounded as is Mariupol. The latter presents a problem for the Russians as the Nazi militias have decided to fight to their deaths. Russian heavy weapons could quickly destroy the militias but at a cost in civilian life. It looks like the Russians will have to accept the heavy casualties of street fighting to clear the city in order to spare civilian lives.
From The Saker’s report, one would assume that the meeting Monday morning is for the Russians to accept Ukraine’s surrender, but such a conclusion is inconsistent with the shipment of arms and fighter jets to Ukraine announced by the EU. Russia’s control of Ukraine territory, the destruction of all Ukrainian military air fields, and Russia’s control of Ukrainian air space raises the questions of how do the fighter jets get into Ukraine, where do they land, where do they operate from?
As you can see, it is difficult to make sense of the situation.
I do think the chance of a wider war would be far less if the Kremlin had committed all of the invasion forces and used whatever conventional weapons necessary regardless of civilian casualties to quickly end the war, while refusing to be delayed and distracted by negotiations and Western bleating. Having made a decisive decision, the Russians needed to demonstrate decisive military action.