Johnny Miller

Press TV, Donbas

The battle for Donbas: Russia has air and artillery superiority. By some accounts they are pounding Ukrainian positions with 50000 shells a day. Particularly terrifying are their thermobaric missiles. They cause massive fireballs and suck out the oxygen from the surrounding air. The Ukrainians are well dug in their places. These weapons can penetrate their trenches with devastating effect.

The Guardian newspaper reports that between 600 and 1000 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed or wounded every day, a horrific loss of human life, and strategically unsustainable.

The Russians too are thought to have had high casualties. It has been a long time since they have released their figures. But it is they who are moving forward slowly but surely.

Peace talks broke down early on in the conflict. Both sides have had little interest in them since.

President Zelensky has made clear that he is not interested in talks unless Russia withdraws to the territory it held before Feb. 24th. With Russia on the front foot on the battlefield, this will not happen.

While Russia has political control over their Donbas allies, NATO due to its funding and arming has massive influence over Ukraine when negotiations start and what is on the table is arguably more down to NATO, in particular and to a lesser extent the UK, than the Ukrainian government.

The head of NATO, Jen Stoltenberg, recently said: “President Zelensky has stated many times, this war will end at the negotiating table. The question is what kind of position will the Ukrainians have when they negotiate a solution? Our responsibility is to make that position as strong as possible. We know that there is a very close link between what you can achieve at the negotiating table and your position at the battlefield. So our military support to them is a way to strengthen their hand at the negotiating table when they, hopefully soon, will sit there and negotiate the peace agreement.”

Hundreds of soldiers, both Ukrainian and Russian, are being slaughtered everyday in Donbas so that their governments have a better hand at the negotiating table. Civilians on both sides are dying too. A mother and her 11-year-old child yesterday in Donetsk were killed by shelling of a market. Meanwhile global leaders warn of a catastrophic global food crisis due to the conflict. Peace is still a long way off and it looks set to be achieved on the battlefield. 

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