Ukraine Conflict enters Day 12

March 7, 2022 - 10:40

TEHRAN- The Ceasefire agreements between Moscow and Kyiv broke down, with both sides laying the blame on each other but appear to be partially back on track. 

The Kremlin blamed Ukraine for the failure of a deal to evacuate civilians from the city of Mariupol and a nearby town, while Ukrainian officials claim attempts to create the humanitarian corridor in the east for civilians had collapsed because of shelling.

Now a second ceasefire attempt has been tested in Mariupol for the reported evacuation of around 400,000 civilians. Mariupol’s city council said the ceasefire will be observed between 10 am and 9 pm local time on Sunday. The third round of talks between the two sides is also expected to resume on Monday. 

A senior official from the NGO Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontières MSF) has warned that the humanitarian situation in the southern Ukrainian port of Mariupol is “catastrophic” and it is vital that civilians be evacuated.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with his Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to discuss ongoing efforts by Washington to impose sanctions on Russia and speed up American military and economic assistance. 

The White House said during the call the two leaders also discussed the negotiations taking place between Russia and Ukraine but refused to provide any additional details.

Zelensky has insisted the West should establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, or at least provide it with fighter jets to help its forces fight the Russian military.

Despite the pleas from Kyiv, Poland, which has accepted an influx of refugees from Ukraine, has so far refused to supply its eastern neighbor with warplanes. “We are supporting Ukrainians with humanitarian aid. However, we are not going to send any jets to the Ukrainian airspace” President Andrzej Duda recently declared.

The White House has told U.S. media that Washington does not mind if Poland supplies Ukraine but only with some of its old Soviet-era warplanes to help repel the ongoing Russian advance. “We are also working on the capabilities we could provide to backfill Poland if it decided to transfer planes to Ukraine,” a spokesperson said.

Four U.S. officials have been quoted as saying that Washington may fill the gap in Poland’s Air Force if it decides to give its used MiG-29s to Kyiv. 

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Washington is considering giving Poland F-16 jet fighter jets if it transfers some of its old aircraft to Ukraine.

But Washington will not give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which critics say is another sign of America effectively abandoning Ukraine on the battlefield. 

The Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Olha Stefanishyna lashed out at the U.S. NATO alliance saying “It is very upsetting when the group of 30 leaders or ministers or even ambassadors are ... gathering itself in a fancy cabinet, with the fancy furniture, and talking about the fancy thing, knowing that Ukraine was over this table for all of [these] years sitting in this fancy offices... But now knowing that we can’t be there because we are operating under the bombarding of [the] Russian Federation.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov briefed journalists that "missile troops have eliminated [Ukraine’s] S-300 air defense weapons system.” According to Konashenkov, Russia’s aviation and air defense have also downed four Su-27 aircraft and one MiG-29 near Zhitomir, one Su-27 and one Su-25 aircraft near Radomyshl, one Su-25 aircraft near Nezhin, and two Mi-8 helicopters near Kyiv. In all, six drones have been eliminated over the past 24 hours, including one Bayraktar TB2.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. and its allies are secretly drafting “contingency plans” in case the Russian military succeed in their operation in Ukraine and “forces the current government into exile.”

According to the report, officials in Washington and European capitals, anticipate that the Russian army will soon make swift advances which will set the stage “for a long, bloody insurgency.”

Several U.S. and European officials say the methods with which Western governments would support a Ukrainian insurgency are developing into something definite or tangible.

Moscow has time and again reinterred that it has no plans to occupy Ukraine and announced a “special operation” to prevent further bloodshed against ethnic Russians in the country’s eastern Donbas region, the demilitarization and neutrality of Ukraine alongside the end of its NATO membership requests. 

The Kremlin argues Ukraine’s membership in NATO threatens Russian security by allowing the U.S.-led alliance to place dangerous weapons on Russian borders and being part of NATO means sharing your intelligence with the North Atlantic Alliance.

Meanwhile, Germany has collapsed to NATO’s pressure, performing a historic U-turn by announcing it will allow weapons to be delivered to Ukraine. The new German government will deliver 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft defense systems to Ukraine. 

Berlin has also given authorization for the Netherlands to send Ukraine 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and has told Estonia to transfer nine howitzers. The government has said the weapons will be delivered “as soon as possible.”

U.S.-based credit card giants Visa and Mastercard have announced they will suspend their Russian business operations.

British prime minister Boris Johnson has announced a six-point plan in response to Russia’s military action and is urging other leaders to endorse it in efforts to ensure Russia fails in its alleged attempt to “take over” its neighbor.

The plan includes additional economic sanctions against Russia. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte are set to visit Downing Street on Monday to discuss the measures.

Analysts say European sanctions will backfire on European consumers who will see higher costs in their energy bills as Europe heavily relies on Moscow for energy. 

The International Monetary Fund has warned about the global economic impacts of sanctions on Russia. In a statement, it said “the economic consequences are already very serious. Price shocks will have an impact worldwide, especially on poor households for whom food and fuel are a higher proportion of expenses" 

The IMF says “the sanctions on Russia will also have a substantial impact on the global economy and financial markets, with significant spillovers to other countries”. 

The global monetary group also warned, “should the conflict escalate, the economic damage would be all the more devastating.”

The IMF has also announced it could approve $1.4 billion in emergency funding as early as next week as the body warns of the conflicts “severe impact” on the global economy.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has slammed Britain for advocating financial punitive measures against Moscow saying “the sanctions hysteria in which London plays one of the leading, if not the main, roles, leaves us no choice but to take proportionately tough retaliatory measures,” she warned, adding that Britain’s interests in Russia will be “undermined” by Moscow’s response.

The Russian President has delivered a warning to the Ukrainian government saying “the current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood, If that happens they will have to be blamed for that.”

Touching on Ukraine’s demand for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over the country, which Nato has so far rejected, Putin further warned “the realization of that demand would bring catastrophic results not only to Europe but to the whole world.”

Elsewhere, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi says Beijing rejects any measures that “add fuel to the flames” in Ukraine. Wang called for negotiations to end the crisis, highlighting how the U.S. and Europe have failed to pay attention to the negative impact of Nato’s eastward expansion on Russia’s security concerns. He made the remarks to the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken.

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