The new phase of the war in Ukraine is already open and today marked a clear turning point on the field and on the diplomatic chessboard. Once the objective of a lightning expedition has disappeared since the hours following the offensive of last February 24, the first phase of the conflict is also starting to end, which has proved to be more bloody than expected for the Russian invaders.
The repositioning in the eastern territory of the country is underway: the occupiers retreat from Kharkiv while the Ukrainian forces repel the advance on the Seversky Donets river east of Severodonetsk, in the Lugansk area. The missile dripping of the Russians and the siege of the diehards in the Azovstal steel plant continued without substantial tactical effects.
On May 13, in a situation of stagnation if not stalemate, the new phone call between the Pentagon and the Russian defense arrived. It hadn’t happened since February 18, six days before the invasion: a high-level canal between Washington and Moscow reopened that appeared to be fossilized. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called his Russian counterpart, Serghei Shoigu, asking for an immediate ceasefire.
Not only that: the Pentagon spokesman underlined the importance of keeping the lines of communication open even if the contact is not considered decisive nor can it lead to an immediate change in Russian positions.
The complex diplomatic match includes the question of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, which today offered the Turkish President Erdogan the opportunity to underline his role: he motivated his opposition to joining the Alliance of Countries Scandinavians because they would be “a pension for terrorist organizations”.
A stop that aroused the immediate reaction of the White House, with the phone calls from President Biden to the leaders of Sweden and Finland and the subsequent declaration: “They have the right to choose their own future“And regarding the Ankara opposition, the State Department has announced that it will be discussed in the NATO ministerial over the weekend in Berlin.
Moscow, we see no real reasons for Finland’s entry into NATO
Russia sees no real reasons that could lead Finland to a strategic reversal and join NATO. This was stated by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Moscow, Aleksandr Grushko, as reported by Ria Novosti.
Intelligence Gb, the Russians have failed the political objectives of the war
The fact that Moscow managed to impose pro-Russian local leaderships only in Kherson highlights the “failure of the invasion to achieve its political goals in Ukraine”. This is what the latest British military intelligence bulletin on the ongoing conflict records.
“The authorities imposed by Moscow in Kherson have announced that they will ask Russia to annex the region”, stresses London, “a central part of the Russian plan was most likely to trigger referendums to impose pro-Russian authorities in most regions of the country”. “If Russia conducts an annexation referendum,” military intelligence concludes, “it will almost certainly manipulate the results to show a clear majority in favor of leaving Ukraine. The citizens of Kherson will likely continue to demonstrate their opposition to Ukraine. Russian occupation “.
Staff confirms, Russians withdraw from Kharkiv
The Russians withdrew their troops from Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country. This was confirmed by the General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces on its Facebook page, according to reports from the UNIAN agency.
“The enemy continues to conduct full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine,” the report read. “The main objective is to establish full control over the territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions and to guarantee the stability of the land corridor with the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Crimea”, continues the General Staff, “the greatest activity of the occupiers is observed. in the Slobozhansky and Donetsk directions. The main efforts have focused on ensuring the withdrawal of his troops from the city of Kharkiv, keeping the positions occupied and the supply routes “.
In the southern port city of Mariupol, Russia was continuing to besiege the last remaining Ukrainian forces at the Azovstal steel plant, the General Staff recalled, adding that “the occupiers” are using “heavy artillery and air strikes”. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukrainian forces repelled 10 Russian attacks and destroyed equipment including five tanks, five artillery systems and six units of armored combat equipment, Kiev added.
Even the American think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), in its latest update on the conflict, records the Russian withdrawal and speaks of a “probable victory in the battle of Kharkiv” by the Ukrainians. “The Ukrainian forces prevented the Russian troops from encircling, and even conquering Kharkiv, and then expelled them from all over the city, as they did with the troops attempting to seize Kiev, the report reads. continues Isw, the Russian units “in recent days, with few exceptions, have not tried to resist the Ukrainians’ counterattack”.
US, sanctions on foreign banks that help Russia
The Biden administration is urging international banks not to help Russia evade sanctions, warning that they risk losing market access to the United States and Europe if they support Russian companies or oligarchs that are facing financial restrictions as a result of the war in Ukraine. In an interview with the New York Times, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo illustrated the consequences of helping Russians to evade sanctions by stressing that even if a financial institution is headquartered in a country that has not imposed sanctions on Russia , the company may still suffer consequences for violating US or European restrictions, including exclusion from those financial systems.
“If you provide material support to a sanctioned individual or entity, we can extend our sanctions regime to you and use our tools to prosecute you – said Adeyemo – I want it very clear to these institutions and other countries that they could not taking sanctions: the United States and our allies and partners are ready to act if they do things that violate our sanctions. “
Zelensky, 37 foreign embassies have reopened in Kiev
As of May 13, 37 foreign diplomatic missions resumed operations in Kiev. This was announced by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in a video speech quoted by the Ukrainian agency UNIAN.
Cnn, first trial of a Russian soldier in Kiev
The first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier opens in Kiev. The 21-year-old – according to CNN – is accused of killing an unarmed civilian in the Sumy region.
Zelensky, those who delay sanctions think about the food crisis
The war and the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports were “causing a large-scale food crisis”. This was stated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his nocturnal speech, quoted by The Guardian. “Russian officials – said Zelensky – are also openly threatening the world that there will be famine in dozens of countries. And what could be the consequences of such a famine? What political instability and migratory flows will this lead to? the questions to be answered by those who are delaying sanctions on Russia or trying to postpone aid to Ukraine “.
Zelensky, talks with Russia on Azovstal complex
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said talks with Russia to get the injured defenders out of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol were “very complex”, adding that Kiev was using “influential intermediaries”. Reuters reported, citing his late night speech.
Russian missile hits House of Culture in Kharkiv
A Russian missile attack hit the House of Culture in Kharkiv, which was used to distribute aid. This was reported by the Reuters news agency quoted by The Guardian website. The mayor of Kharkiv, Vyacheslav Zadorenko, told Reuters: “I can only call it a terrorist act. They wanted to hit the base where we store the supplies and create a humanitarian catastrophe.”