Wijninga believed that once Mariupol fell into the hands of the Russians, the Russian army would likely target the rest of Donbass from the south. “From the harbor, which is still fairly intact, you can bring in new troops and goods.”
The defense specialist is of the opinion that the Russians are already advancing from Kharkov towards the southeast. In addition, the Russian armed forces in Donbass can be strengthened via logistics lines from Russia. It is said that between six thousand and eight thousand additional Russian soldiers are already on their way to the region.
Wijinga says the focus on the Donbass does not mean that fighting in other parts of the country will stop. As long as Russia continues to launch attacks there, Ukraine should keep its forces and air defenses there. As a result, Ukraine will not soon send reinforcements to the east, it is believed.
Russia’s changing course does not bring peace at the moment. Dean says Presidents Putin and Zelensky are still a long way from that. “Putin will be able to agree to a pledge of neutrality in Kyiv and when the entire Donbass region and the land bridge to Crimea come under the control of Russia or a breakaway (pro-Russian) republic.”
This is not mentioned for Zelensky. Dean believes: “We can talk about the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea. He will not give up on them, but this struggle can be frozen at the most.” This does not apply to the other occupied parts of the southeast: “There is still a lot to gain Ukraine.”
Dean therefore believes that the peace talks, which will resume tomorrow, will not lead to a historic peace agreement. “It will most likely turn into a temporary file.”
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