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Blinken Casts Doubt on Seriousness of Russian, Chinese Commitment to Ukraine Peace

https://ift.tt/P3FyV4r. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed doubt Wednesday about how serious Russia and China are about achieving peace in Ukraine, citing a lack of substantive steps by either to back up statements showing support for a peace effort.

Speaking during a visit to Uzbekistan, Blinken told reporters that if Russia were genuinely prepared to engage in meaningful diplomacy to end its aggression, then the United States would be quick to engage in that effort. But he said Russia’s actions, including President Vladimir Putin’s demands that Ukraine recognize Russia’s control over parts of Ukrainian territory, show Russia is not interested in that path.

“The real question is whether Russia will get to a point where it is genuinely prepared to end its aggression and do so in a way that is consistent with the United Nations charter and its very principles.”

“No one wants peace more urgently than the people of Ukraine.  They are the victims every single day of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said.  “We all know the simple truth that the war could end tomorrow, it could end today, if President Putin so decided.  He started it, he could stop it.”


Blinken said a peace proposal put forward by China does contain some positive elements, including some found in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s own peace plan.

But Blinken said if China were serious about its call for the sovereignty of all nations to be upheld, then it would have spent the past year working in support of Ukraine’s full sovereignty in the face of Russia’s invasion.  

He said China has done the opposite, including advancing Russian propaganda about the war, blocking for Russia at international organizations and contemplating sending lethal military assistance for Russian forces to use in Ukraine.

Bakhmut fighting


Ukrainian officials described fighting Tuesday around the eastern city of Bakhmut as intense, although little territory has changed hands between Moscow’s and Kyiv’s forces.

“The most difficult situation is still Bakhmut and the battles that are important for the defense of the city,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Tuesday. “Russia does not count people at all, sending them to constantly storm our positions. The intensity of fighting is only increasing.”

Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian commander in charge of defending Bakhmut, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, reported 800 Russian troops have been killed in the area since Thursday.

Earlier Tuesday, Syrskyi said on social media, “Despite taking significant losses, the enemy has dispatched its best-trained Wagner assault units to try to break through the defenses of our troops and surround the city.”


He was referring to the Wagner Group, the Russian paramilitary unit fighting alongside Russian troops.

Russia has been intensifying its attacks on several areas in eastern Ukraine, including Bakhmut, the ruined city where 75,000 people once lived.

Fighting for months has focused on towns and villages around Bakhmut, with Moscow attempting to surround the city to cut off Ukrainian supply routes, although some fighting has occurred within the city itself.

After failing a year ago to quickly take Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, in the earliest days of the war, Russia has concentrated its fight in the eastern Donbas region. Both sides have sustained heavy casualties in the warfare.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based research organization, said in a new report Tuesday that 60,000 to 70,000 Russian troops have been killed in the last year, more combat deaths than Moscow sustained in all the conflicts it has fought since World War II combined, including in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Author webdesk@voanews.com (VOA News)
Source : VOA


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