"Russia Breaks Through Ukr Defences Kremennaya, Advances to Oskol River; Prepares Future Offensive
by Alexander Mercouris
The Duran (July 25, 2023)
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28:37 Alexander Mercouris: “This fiction about a stalemate, a bloody stalemate, it helps Western commentators and Western journalists deal with the situation on the front lines, the failure of the offensive, the fact that no great breakthrough is being achieved, or looks like being achieved. But it is also preventing Western commentators and political leaders from facing the reality, which is that when a side, which is Ukraine [Kiev] is attacking and is failing to break through, that is not a stalemate. That is a failure. And a failure which is preparing the ground for what will almost certainly be an eventual defeat.”
29:51 “So, I think this narrative about stalemate is a deeply misleading and bad one. It is in its way as corrosive and dangerous as the previous narrative which it has replaced: the previous narrative which was of Ukraine achieving a military victory.”
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34:35 “. . . what the United States is now looking for in Ukraine is not an outright Ukrainian victory, it is well understood that that is beyond reach. It is not looking to expel the Russians from the territory that they control. It is rather to freeze the conflict along the existing ceasefire lines. So the idea apparently is: Come to the Russians. Tell the Russians the war is in stalemate. We are not making progress against you. The Ukrainians are stuck. They’re suffering heavy losses. But you are stuck as well. You, too, are not advancing. Therefore let’s all call it quits. Let’s accept that nobody has achieved their overriding objective. Let’s put all the political questions, NATO membership and all that to one side. Let’s agree to some sort of Korean-style armistice whereby we draw a line so that all of these territories you occupy – including Crimea, by the way – remain under your de facto control. You, of course, have secured your land bridge to Crimea. You’ve got the sea of Azov under your control. You’ve managed to regain control of much more of Lugansk region. But 85 percent of Ukraine remains under the control of the government in Kiev. And we’re not going to discuss NATO membership because of course, that’s not something we discuss with you and, at the same time, we’re not perhaps going to look to bring Ukraine into NATO while the conflict with you remains in being. But let’s just call a stop and leave things as they are. And then we can all walk away. Of course, we’re not going to lift any sanctions but we might relax them, perhaps, on the margins. The Russians would be foolish to believe that, by the way, but anyway we won’t lift any sanctions and in the meantime we can concentrate on China and you can concentrate on doing in Russia whatever it is that you want to do.”
37:09 “And I suspect that that is, now, the emerging ideas: the ideas that are starting to be discussed in Western capitals. When Blinken is pushing back against people, when he says that Ukraine must continue to pursue victory, he’s pushing against people who are suggesting a settlement along those lines.”
37:44 “Now, can I say, straight away, that compared with the West’s objectives at the start of the war, this would be a failure. President Putin would still be President of Russia. The Russian economy, far from having cratered, would continue its now seemingly unstoppable momentum towards growth. There’s been a whole series of PMI indicators coming out of Western countries . . . which all seem to point to continued contraction, especially in manufacturing, and probably in services, and they all seem to be pointing towards recession conditions, certainly in Europe, perhaps eventually in the United States as well. The Russian economy, by contrast, as I discussed in my program yesterday is now growing so fast that the central bank is now starting to worry that it is overheating. Whether it is right to worry about that is another matter.”
39:16 “Russia, in this kind of scenario of a freezing of the conflict will not have collapsed. President Putin will remain in power. The Russian area of control in Ukraine will have been expanded. And from the point of view of the kind of plans that the west had at the outset of the war: creating a crisis in Russia; leveraging that crisis to change Russian foreign policy; turn Russia against China – that article published by Mr Wes Mitchell back in August 2021 - none of that will have been achieved. And from that point of view, this war will have been a strategic failure.”
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[No incentive for Russia to accept any peace proposal along the lines proposed by those of the West]
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43:20“. . . from the Russian point of view, an Armistice will leave all the problems which started the war in the first place unresolved. ... US to treat rump Ukraine in the same way as it treats Israel. It would feed more weapons . . . with all the risk that that would start the war and the fighting all over again.”
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45:40 “...this whole narrative of stalemate has no reality. They’re advancing in the Kharkov region. They’ve held back Ukraine in the southern front lines in the Ukrainian offensive in Bakhmut. ...”
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46:20 “. . . so why should the Russians whose economy is pumping out ever more weapons, who are seeing young men joining the Russian army all the time prepared to take the fight to the enemy, what is the incentive of the Russians to agree to this?