War in the neighborhood: IPN updates

Badly planned, badly implemented

Kirill Budanov, head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, said they knew the exact date of the Russian attack. According to him, before the start of the war, Putin had several options for seizing Ukraine.

“I’m telling you as an intelligence official: he had, in principle, absolutely realistic options that could end badly enough for us in a fairly short term. And it was absolutely ridiculous, as they say, the animal version – open aggression. There were people who even told Putin that the option of open aggression always exists, but this is not the best option,” the head of intelligence explained.

He noted that the Russian president chose the worst option. He believed that no later than on the third day he would be able to capture the administrative buildings of Kyiv, and on the tenth day to complete the active military phase, that is, completely destroy any resistance.

Not only Ukrainians should learn lesson of frozen conflicts

Ukraine has drawn conclusions from the Minsk agreements and will no longer agree to such agreements. Freezing the conflict in Ukraine is out of the question, said the adviser to the Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Mikhail Podolyak.

“There can be no question of freezing the conflict. Firstly, any freeze is a war postponed in time. Larger, bloodier and more prepared on the part of the aggressor, who will do the work on the mistakes, dismiss and arrest the generals, and their place will be given to militants with the experience of today’s war. By the way, we also did our work on the mistakes: Ukraine drew conclusions from the Minsk agreements and therefore will not go to Minsk-3,” he wrote on Wednesday in Telegram.

One can easily renounce what is not theirs

Henry Kissinger said that Ukraine must concede territory to Russia to end the war, and warned the West that a humiliating defeat for Russia could result in wider destabilization. The legendary statesman, now 98, made the comments in a conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday.

“Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” he said. “Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” he added, apparently referring to a restoration of Ukraine’s borders as they were before the war began in February. “Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”

Kissinger said status quo ante means “how things were before.” Kissinger’s comments imply that Ukraine should accept a peace deal to restore the situation on February 24, where Russia formally controlled the Crimea peninsula and informally controlled part of the Donetsk region in east Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have angrily opposed the idea that they should give up any territory. “It’s good that Ukrainians in the trenches do not have time for listening to ‘Davos panickers’,” said adviser to the Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Mikhail Podolyak.

Death figures being speculated

Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of the ruined Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Tuesday told CNN that Mariupol town hall officials believe at least 22,000 residents of the city were killed during three months of war — a figure that cannot be independently verified, with the free press now unable to access the city and those still inside too scared to speak openly.

The figure of 22,000 is based, Andriushchenko said, on the many contacts he and other town hall officials continue to have with officials trapped inside. But he believes the actual figure could be much higher. He noted the process of reburying the dead has been complicated by Russian official insistence that reclaimed bodies be brought to a morgue and that a person claiming a body must agree to record a video in which the applicant says the deceased was killed by the Ukrainian military.

Unblocking of ports and theft of Ukrainian wheat

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke in favor of creating a "green corridor" for grain exports from Russia and Ukraine. “China cannot stand aside when important problems that cause particular attention of the global community are being solved," the Chinese top diplomat stated.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba does not believe that Western countries can resolve the issue of Russia’s naval blockade by force. He said this during the Ukrainian breakfast in Davos.

Lifting of sanctions in exchange for lifting of port blockage

Russia has said that it will end its blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports only if the West agrees to lift sanctions.

Andrei Rudenko, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said today that Moscow would be willing to create a “humanitarian corridor” for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, in exchange for the removal of trade sanctions and financial restrictions.

Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Ned Price said that the U.S. sanctions are not causing disruptions to Russia’s agricultural exports and they won’t lift their sanctions in response to empty promises. “I think we have – all have good reason to be skeptical when we hear various pledges and offers from Russia. This was the same country, of course, that for months maintained that it had no intention of invading its neighbor and taking on this brutal war,” he stated.

Cynically and impudently

“Zaporizhzhia Oblast after complete liberation from Ukrainian nationalists will head towards becoming part of Russia,” representative of the local administration Vladimir Rogov told RIA Novosti. “There can be only one future for the Zaporizhzhia Oblast - it should be part of Russia, should become a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation. We do not need gray zones, we do not need the Zaporozhye People’s Republic.”

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