"Russia Claims Breakthrough in Mariupol as India Buys Russian Oil and China Prepares to Meet US."
by Alexander Mercouris
The Duran News Topic 437 (March 14, 2022)

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[13:34] Alexander Mercouris: “It is extremely unusual. It’s something that western governments find very difficult to understand -- and western commentators find impossible to understand -- that you should conduct a military operation and simultaneously negotiate with your opponent. Something that is completely outside the western playbook. And also, and simultaneously, the fact that these negotiations are taking place, to some extent is shaping the nature of the Russian campaign. I have become very tired of reading many of these discussions about why the Russians are pulling their punches; why they are not launching outright saturation bombing; why their air force isn’t operating over the skies of Ukraine on a round-the-clock basis. There’s been all sorts of reasons and theories and speculations and guesses as to why that might be so.”

“In my opinion, there is a very straightforward explanation to this. It’s one that is blindingly obvious and is staring everyone in the face. And that is that the Russians are not taking that step because it would undercut their objective of trying to achieve a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine through negotiations. They want the government in Kiev to survive, in some form, so that they can strike a deal with it. A deal to achieve their underlying objectives which are not the occupation of Ukraine – or so they say – but rather its demilitarization, its ‘de-radicalization’ and its long-term commitment to neutrality.”

“Only if the Russians conclude that these negotiations are not going to lead anywhere, that the Ukrainians are playing for time, only then will they, in my opinion, start to act in a more ruthless way. So that, I think, explains many of the reasons for the constrained way in which the Russians are proceeding. But it is not so constrained as to prevent the Russians from capturing places like Mariupol … and from breaking up the Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, dividing them up in penny packets, and working towards the total elimination of the Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine. That is how the situation looks to me.”

[16:23] ". . ."