Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Advises:
‘Everybody Calm Down’
Becky Sullivan / National Public Radio & OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
(January 29, 2022) — As the US and its allies in Europe capped a week of high-stakes diplomacy aiming to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged world leaders to cool the talk of war.
Speaking to foreign reporters in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, on Friday, Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s economy had been damaged by what he said was a false perception that Ukraine is on the brink of war, calling decisions by the US and the UK to withdraw families of embassy staff a “mistake.”
“They’re saying tomorrow is the war. This means panic in the market, panic in the financial sector,” he said. “How much does it cost our country?”
Zelenskyy downplayed the danger posed by some 100,000 Russian troops stationed around Ukraine’s borders. “We have been in these situations for eight years,” he said, referring to Russian-backed separatist violence in eastern Ukraine and cyberattacks that have been ongoing since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014.
“We have learned to live with this and develop with this,” he said. “The threat is constant.”
On Wednesday, the US and NATO each delivered a written response to a list of security demands made by Russia last month.
In a phone call Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first public comments about those responses. Russia was carefully studying them, he said, and had yet to determine its next moves, according to a Kremlin readout of the call.
But Putin said that the West had failed to address Russia’s “principal concerns” — a guarantee that NATO would never admit Ukraine as a member and the withdrawal of NATO military personnel from some of the Eastern European member states.
Officials from both the US and NATO have repeatedly emphasized their commitment to the alliance’s “open door” policy, which allows any European country to join the bloc so long as it can meet certain commitments.
On Friday, Zelenskyy called for Ukraine to be a party to negotiations between Russia and the United States. “President Biden recently assured me — and yesterday as well — that nothing will be decided behind Ukraine’s back about the destiny, the current and future of our country,” he said.
“Why do you need so many soldiers all there?” Zelenskyy said, addressing Putin. “Why do we need to have these drills so often?” he added, noting that the Russian military is already highly trained and capable. The “mere fact” of accumulating troops in such numbers along the border by itself risks a response from other world powers wary of Russia, he said.
US Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reiterated Friday that the US has “no intent whatsoever” of attacking Russia.
“Conflict is not inevitable,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, referring to the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Though some 8,500 US troops in the US and Europe are on “high alert,” according to the Defense Department, none has yet been deployed to NATO countries in Eastern Europe. President Biden has previously said that no troops will go into Ukraine.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western governments of “hysterically advancing” the likelihood of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“If it depends on Russia, there will be no war,” he said — but warned that Russia would not allow its interests to be ignored.
The Situation in Ukraine:
Daily Report 20/2022 issued on 28 January 2022
(January 27, 2022) — Based on information from the Monitoring Teams as of 19:30 27 January 2022. All times are in Eastern European Time.
Please, be advised that the situation around Donbas is becoming tense:
* there are now 150 thousand Ukrainian troops near Donbas (some days ago it was 120 thousand);
* Donbass has only 35,000 troops that cannot attack Ukraine;
* the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) has finalized the master plan to attack Donbas;
* the USA has delivered 250 tons of military equipment and ammunition (MEA) to UAF;
* 45 more UStransport aircraft are to arrive to Ukraine with MEA;
* civil hospitals in Ukraine have been converted into military ones;
* any regular annual vacations for the Ukrainian GIs have been cancelled for indefinite period of time;
* M141 Bunker Defeat Munitions have arrived to the UAF attacking forces (Donbas does not have them; so, it does not have them to attack Ukraine);
* several public protests against war versus Donbas have been staged near the Ukrainian Parliament;
* Kiev continues to violate a ceasefire accord in Donbas: according to the report of the OSCE SMM in Ukraine dated January 28th, 2022 has stated:
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 20/2022 issued on 28 January 2022
Summary In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 173 ceasefire violations, including six explosions.
In the previous reporting period, it recorded 510 ceasefire violations in the region.
In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 93 ceasefire violations, including 13 explosions.
Dr. Vladimir Kozin is a Member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He is Vice President of the Russian National Institute for Global Security Research, winner of Colonel-General Varfolomei Korobushin Reward (Russian Strategic Missiles Forces) and Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Reward. He is also a Leading Expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Russia Stands Down after
Complaints from Ireland’s Fishermen
(January 29. 2022) — The Russian military, which had announced naval drills off the coast of Ireland, agreed to move them further away after fishermen vowed to disrupt them. CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan speaks with two of the fishermen who were involved in the process.
Gar S — Thank you Ireland. Thank you Russia.
I can’t imagine a scenario in which the pugnacious Pentagon would tell the US Navy to stand down from a war game because of complaints from a foreign fishing fleet.