Last week (November, 21–27), Russia showed their true face, again.
moscow no longer hides that the purpose of massive missile attacks on the energy infrastructure is to force Kyiv to negotiate on russian terms. These conditions provide for the surrender of Ukraine and the abandonment of the territories occupied by russia, including Crimea.
However, Ukraine refuses to play by russian rules: shelling of critical infrastructure will not force our country into stopping the fight.
In Kyiv, they are ready to consider non-military scenarios for the return of the occupied peninsula, but they reject any options for “peace” initiatives under which Crimea will be considered the territory of the russian federation.
The international community also responded to the shelling of the energy infrastructure.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has recognized russia and its regime as a terrorist state, and the European Parliament recognized the rf as a sponsor of terrorism. At the same time, Poland offered to transfer to Ukraine the “Patriot” ASW systems, which Germany supplies to their country. In Berlin, they are now considering the option.
In addition, the EU is working to introduce a marginal price for the purchase of russian oil. According to European officials, it should cut the revenues to the russian budget and, subsequently, reduce the military expenditures of the aggressor country.
russia is a terrorist attacking civilians to force Ukraine to negotiate
Ukrainian people are well aware that russia has been acting as a terrorist since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, when the first attacks on civilian infrastructure were fired. At that time, the occupiers destroyed homes, railway stations, shopping malls, and hospitals. However, as it turned out, moscow was just warming up.
russia entered a new stage of terror against the civilian population on October 10, when it launched a massive missile attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine. Since then, the armed forces of the russian federation have almost weekly attacked the Ukrainian power system, which has already suffered serious damage.
In his evening address on November, 27, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that the next week could be as difficult as this one because the russians are preparing new strikes. “We understand that terrorists are preparing new strikes, we know it for sure. And as long as they have rockets, they will not be quiet,” the President said.
Now, in the EU and NATO countries, they realized that russia uses terrorist methods only. Thus, on November, 21, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly recognized the rf and its regime as a terrorist state. As few as two days later, on November, 23, the European Parliament adopted a resolution recognizing russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and a state that uses means of terrorism. 575 MEPs voted for the decision, 24 MPs abstained, and 8 MPs voted against.
It is ironic, if not symbolic, that it was on this day that russia launched another massive missile attack on Ukraine. The occupiers launched 70 rockets into Ukraine, 51 of which have been shot down by the forces of the Ukrainian ASW. The strike killed civilians, hit their homes with rockets, and wounded dozens more. In addition, most areas were left without electricity for at least a few hours.
moscow no longer conceals the purpose of its strikes – to force Kyiv to enter into negotiations. As a result, Ukraine will have to capitulate and refuse the russia-occupied territories. Thus, on November, 24, kremlin spokesman, dmitry peskov, said that the Ukrainian authorities have every opportunity to settle the situation with strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities and to end the suffering of people. To do this, they need to fulfill russia’s requirements:
“The leaders of Ukraine have every opportunity to bring the situation (with strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities – ed.) to normal, they have every opportunity to regulate the situation in such a way as to meet the requirements of the russian side, and to stop, respectively, all kinds of suffering of the local population.”
We have repeatedly written that Ukraine rejects the idea of negotiations on russian terms. This was confirmed again by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksii Danilov, who said that russia will not be able to get anywhere.
“Hear me spelling this out. Neither your missiles. Neither your “shaheds”. Nor your shelling of maternity hospitals would bring your desire for negotiations closer, not for a slightest millimeter, not a step closer, “a high-ranking official tweeted.
Instead, on November, 15, during the G20 summit, Ukraine proposed its “peace formula”, which provides for ten components, including radiation and nuclear security, the withdrawal of the rf troops, and the cessation of hostilities. However, so far the eussian side has not not supported the idea.
Another reason for russian attacks is the desire to provoke protest sentiments inside Ukraine, to force Volodymyr Zelensky to resign. For example, russians used a collaborator and a former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Ilya Kiva, who called for “fighting the Zelensky regime” and refuse to save electricity as the authorities suggest. So far, such attempts have looked pathetic but this does not mean that russians are not going to continue to try and invent something more creative and efficient.
russia does not like that Ukraine wants to return Crimea
On November, 24, according to Ukrainska Pravda, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in aninterview with the Financial Times that he was ready to consider the non-military return of Crimea, but he urged not to waste time on options that do not involve de-occupation of the peninsula. “I understand that everyone is confused by the situation and what will happen to Crimea. If someone is ready to offer us a way to de-occupy Crimea other than by military means, I will support by all means,” the President said.
Zelensky statement received a feedback from the kremlin. dmitry peskov, press secretary of the President of the russian federation, said: “You know that from the very beginning, and the President has been repeating it many times before the start of the special operation, the Constitution of Ukraine stated that Crimea should be returned to Ukraine by force, through the use of force. And de facto, Ukraine did not refuse it. For us, it is nothing but a discussion of the topic of alienation of the territories of the russian federation; there can be no other interpretation here; it is out of question,” said the russian politician.
Two points are worth noting here. Firstly, the Constitution of Ukraine does not contain anything about the return of Crimea by military means. According to the Basic Law, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Secondly, the russians have already said that in Kharkiv region and Kherson they are there “navsegda” (forever – ed.), but in practice, the reality turned out to be different.
Therefore, we hope that the same will go for Crimea. As to the name they are going to label the return of Crimea to Ukraine – “alienation”, “regrouping”, “maneuver”, “act of goodwill” – it does not matter as much. The main thing is the outcome. And it will be on Ukraine, on the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“Patriot” for Ukraine: everything depends on Germany
On November, 24, following the latest rocket attacks, Polish Defense Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, asked Germany to hand over to Ukraine to reinforce its air defense with the “Patriot” complexes previously offered to Poland in Berlin.
In response, Germany stated that Patriot’s ASW systems were only intended for use in NATO territory. “These Patriot’s are part of NATO’s integrated air defense, which means they are designed to be deployed on NATO territory,” Lambrecht said. In addition, she added that any use of these complexes outside NATO territory would require prior discussion with the Allies.
Subsequently, the situation around Patriot was commented by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, stating that the Alliance provided Ukraine with ASW systems. However, if it goes about specific capacities, it should be a decision of the national government. “I welcome the German proposal to strengthen Poland’s air defense by placing ‘Patriot’ batteries in Poland after last week’s tragic incident, which claimed the lives of two people. However, specific decisions regarding specific capacities remain national decisions, ”Stoltenberg said.
Following Stoltenberg’s words, on November, 25, Germany announced that it was discussing with its allies Poland’s requests for the transfer of Patriot systems to Ukraine.
The EU is preparing the 9th package of sanctions and negotiating a price cap on russian oil
The European Union is already preparing the 9th package of sanctions against russia. “We are actively working to hit russia where it will hurt to further undermine its forces to wage war against Ukraine,” said European Commission President, Ursula von der Läjen, during her visit to Finland on November, 24.
“I am confident that very soon we will agree with the G7 and other major partners on the introduction of a global ceiling on russian oil prices. We will not rest until Ukraine gains the upper hand over Putin and his unjust and barbaric war, ”she stressed.
As a matter of fact, the European Union wants to ensure that russia can sell its oil supplied by tankers only at a price not higher than a certain level. As planned in Brussels, it should reduce revenues to the russian budget, and subsequently, the military expenditures.
However, at a meeting held on November,23, the EU countries did not reach agreement on a compromise value. For example, Poland and the Baltic states consider the European Commission’s proposed price of russian crude oil at $65 per barrel too generous, and countries with advanced shipping, such as Greece, Cyprus, and Malta, refused to lower it below $70.
However, as long as the debate in Brussels continued, the price of russian oil collapsed. According to the results of the auction, on Thursday, November, 24, Urals oil in the ports of Novorossiysk and Primorskaya, from where it is transported to Western countries, was shipped at a price of $52 per barrel, which is only $2 higher than the cost of production. At the same time, the draft budget for 2023 includes the Urals price at $70.1 per barrel, and the budget for the current year is $80.
This trend leaves hope that russia will not be able to spend as much as they want on the war against Ukraine. This will mean reducing their offensive capacity and bringing Ukraine’s victory closer.