The chances of peace negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow appear to have diminished once again following Russia’s withdrawal from the southern city of Kherson with a senior US official calling on Ukraine on Saturday to “liberate” all its citizens from “barbarism”. Russian.
Some, like General Mark Milley, thought that Russia’s withdrawal from the city it held for eight months might be the tactical advantage Ukraine needed to start negotiations to end the war.
This week, Russia even signaled it was open to talks, though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would only participate in peace talks with Russia as long as it returned all occupied land, provided compensation for war damage and was released. indicted for his war crimes.
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The US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Michael Carpenter, endorsed Zelenskyy’s longstanding stance and pointed to new atrocities discovered in Kherson.
“As Ukrainian forces liberate Kherson, they are uncovering evidence of torture and other despicable crimes committed by the Russian occupying forces,” he said in a statement on Twitter. “Ukraine must free all its citizens from this barbarity.”
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace echoed this sentiment, highlighting a concern noted by some defense experts who warned that Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson could be a ploy.
“While the withdrawal is welcome, no one is going to underestimate the threat posed by the Russian Federation,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Wallace said Russia’s withdrawal from the southern city just two months after its forces were driven from Kharkiv marked “another strategic failure for them.”
“Now with [Kherson] In addition to being surrendered, ordinary people in Russia must surely ask themselves ‘What was all this for?'” he questioned. “The Russian military has suffered great loss of life as a result of its illegal invasion and has only achieved international isolationism and humiliation. Ukraine will go ahead.”
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Milley said earlier this week that the United States estimates that “more than” 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded in fighting since the February 24 invasion.
“The same probably on the Ukrainian side,” added Milley, noting that another 40,000 Ukrainian citizens are believed to have been killed.
“There has been a tremendous amount of suffering, human suffering,” he said.
Russian troops have withdrawn to the east side of the Dnieper river, which runs along the east bank of the city of Kherson.
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Ukrainian troops continue to advance into the Kherson region and it is unclear whether Russia plans to further evacuate its forces in a bid to avoid the kind of losses in personnel and military equipment it saw in Kharkiv in September.
Milley estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops are in the Kherson region and said it could be weeks before a troop count of that size is withdrawn.