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'Four Sources,' Visit To Belarus

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'Four Sources,' Visit To Belarus
VITALY PORTNIKOV

Why is Putin talking about "negotiations" with Ukraine?

Immediately after the Reuters news agency spread information that the Russian leader is allegedly ready for peace talks with Ukraine, citing four sources in Putin's entourage, both Vladimir Putin himself and his press secretary Dmitry Peskov started talking about the possibility of such talks, but in a slightly different tone. So we are dealing with a planned information special operation, the goals of which are worth understanding.

I will say right away that I do not believe in any sources in Putin's entourage. I am sure that the correspondents of the reputable agency are telling the truth, and that high-ranking Russian officials, perhaps even members of the Russian Security Council, have indeed been in touch with them. However, officials in the Kremlin are not officials in the White House or the Elysee Palace. None of them will talk to a foreign correspondent unless instructed to do so from above. And the task of the Reuters journalists' interlocutors was to prepare the background for Putin's visit to Minsk and his remarks about the talks.

These remarks leave no doubt that Putin, like Peskov, understands the negotiations as referring to Ukraine's surrender. Even if one considers that the Russian head assumes the possibility of ending the war (i.e. the "special operation"), this ending must simultaneously create the conditions for a new "special operation" when Russia is ready for it. So it is not without reason that Peskov speaks - again - about negotiations to achieve the goals of the "special operation." And these goals, as we know, include not only Ukraine's recognition of the Russian status of the occupied territories, but also Ukraine's demilitarisation.

What is really new in Putin's statements is an attempt to question the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government, with which he is supposedly going to negotiate. This is also expected; I had no doubt that after May 20, Russian propaganda would be constantly talking about the illegitimacy of President Volodymyr Zelensky. What I did not expect, however, was that the main propagandist would be Putin himself.

The Russian leader is now saying that the peace summit in Switzerland is meeting solely to reaffirm the legitimacy of the Ukrainian president. Obviously, this is the last thing Zelensky was thinking about when he addressed Swiss Confederation President Viola Amherd with a proposal to hold such a conference. However, Putin is sort of convincing the leaders of the Global South: you don't need to go there, they just want to use you as extras to confirm someone else's legitimacy. And this signal actually demonstrates that the main reason why Putin started talking about negotiations at all is an attempt to question not only the legitimacy of the Ukrainian president, but also the point of holding the forum in Switzerland.

At the very time when Putin was preparing to go to Minsk, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was convincing Brazil's Chief Advisor to the President Celso Amorim that Chinese proposals to end the "conflict" in Ukraine were prospective.

And, it must be said, he did convince him - now the Chinese proposals for a de facto "freezing" of the conflict, which Putin agreed to during his visit to Beijing, have Brazilian support, there is a joint plan between China and Brazil, there is another alternative to the Ukrainian approach.

Consequently, Putin is not generating peace proposals, he is generating chaos, which should help him continue the war.

Vitaly Portnikov, Radio Svaboda

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