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Report from Russia

Moscow and London conduct secret talks to reformat Ukraine
World » Europe
London agreed with Moscow that Ukraine will eventually become similar to Serbia. Such an opinion was voiced during the recent exchange of views on Ukraine's "unwillingness" to join NATO.

Moscow and London conduct secret talks to reformat Ukraine
London will support Ukraine's reluctance to join NATO
The UK has become noticeably more active during the recent days as far as the Ukrainian crisis is concerned. It appears that London was instructed to deal with the Ukrainian crisis instead of the United States, which was switching its attention to China.

Top British officials have paid visits to Moscow recently — from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Very unexpectedly, however, Moscow heard a message that it was not expecting from London.

Deputy Defenсe Secretary James Heappey said that London would support Ukraine if Kiev wanted to renounce its claims to NATO membership.

"If Ukraine decides that it is going to offer that it won't become a NATO member, we support that — that's for the Ukrainians to decide," he told Sky.

Heappey's statement came as a comment to the remarks from Ukraine's Ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, who said in an interview with BBC 5 Live that Ukraine could consider abandoning its goal of joining NATO.

Soon afterwards, Sergei Nikiforov, an official spokesman for Ukrainian President Zelensky, recalled that Ukraine's desire to join both the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union was enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine. However, a spoken word takes its flight, and one may assume that Ukraine and the West conduct behind-the-scenes talks on this subject. There are a few reasons for that indeed.

If no agreement is reached with Moscow, NATO will fall apart
Earlier in The Times, James Heappey warned against using NATO's "expansionist" narrative and extending the collective security of the alliance to non-members as this could be fraught with the disintegration of the alliance.

Indeed, NATO allies have made it clear that they do not want to defend Ukraine militarily. As for the sanctions and arms supplies, these issues have no decisive importance if Vladimir Putin gives the appropriate order.

In addition, there are NATO members who are convinced that one should conduct a dialogue with Moscow, rather than threaten Russia with sanctions. It goes about Germany, Hungary, Austria, Turkey, France. The latter, for example, did not order to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine.

This suggests that NATO does not have a unified strategy to respond to Moscow's tough determination to eliminate the Nazi Bandera regime in Ukraine.

The UK is aware of that. London does not want to stick its neck out. In addition, local experts already sound the alarm about the UK's food security (in the event of war, Britain will be deprived of wheat supplies from Russia and Ukraine) and diesel fuel supplies from Russia.

To save economy from collapse, it is much easier for London to come to an agreement with Russia, while saving its face. This is where Ukraine's refusal from NATO membership may come in handy.

London does not mind Ukraine becoming Serbia
This is one of the red lines that Putin rigidly outlined. As Putin stated, Ukraine's incorporation into NATO would lead to a war with the alliance. "Do you want France to fight Russia?" he said to a French journalist.

What does London have in mind then? James Heappey, commenting on the above-mentioned remarks from Ukraine's Ambassador to the UK, cited Serbia as an example of a country, which the UK has a good relationship with, even though it is not a member of the alliance.

"There are countries like Serbia that are not members of NATO, but with whom we seem to have a good relationship. Similarly, if Ukraine wanted to reserve its position and say that it the future it may want to join NATO, we would support that too, because that's what sovereignty is and that's what we support," James Heappey said in an interview with Sky News.

The example of Serbia is not incidental. Serbia, like Ukraine, also has close ties with Russia. It appears that Moscow and London see Ukraine as another Serbia. In order to accomplish that, Nazi-oriented Ukrainian politicians should leave the political arena. This is the agreement between Russia and the UK. It does explain many aspects of today's policy of pressure from the West on Ukrainian President Zelensky.

Moreover, the evacuation of the Western military from Ukraine is not going to be reversed. The presence of NATO army bases in Ukraine, as well as Ukraine's membership in the alliance is excluded as well. After the peaceful replacement of the regime in Ukraine (the leak in British media about Yevgeny Muraev fits into this scenario as well), these agreements will be formalised in writing, as Russia requires.

How much of this is true I was reading a Russian newspaper I am a British citizen I just want this bloody business to end it's the ordinary people that get hurt everytime.
Nimbus · M
This whole article smacks of subterfuge and disinformation as perpetrated by Putin and his Unit 29155.
Remember "The first casualty of War is Truth".
senghenydd · M
@Oster1 There one and a half million refugees so far Russia should bow it's head in shame.
Oster1 · M
@senghenydd They should have stayed home, to make their country better. The corruption in the Ukraine, is what drove them out!
senghenydd · M
@Oster1 It's the fighting thats making these people take to the road I see bombs every evening on television I appreciate how lucky I am living in a country where there isn't any conflict.
NATO deserves to be smashed apart..
all they do is back revolutions , regime change and collect nations into their fold

And Putin’s the guy trying to take over the whole world?

Ppl in glass houses ey!
senghenydd · M
@TheOneyouwerewarnedabout Putin's really to blame lets hope negotiations can put a stop to this fighting.
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ArishMell · 70-79, M
I wondered where you'd found the "Nazi" references, about a country that elected a Jewish president, though we all know that "denazification" is one of President Putin's invented aims.

However, your closing statement tells us your source: a Russian newspaper. Since the Kremlim has basically wiped out all news outlet that do not support it, it hardly makes the rest of the report credible.

There have been more anti-war demonstrations reported from across the country, from St. Petersburg to Vladivostock, with some 4000 people said to have been arrested; but the Russian government is making it becoming increasingly more difficult and dangerous to obtain accurate information.

As you say though, we all want the war to stop.
ArishMell · 70-79, M
@senghenydd I think it was the idea of Ukraine joining NATO - or even the EU - that really incensed the Kremlin, even though there was no prospect of NATO membership.

Something not often mentioned about the Cuban Missile Crisis that the end came about by a discreet exchange, by the US removing the missiles it had placed in Turkey. How much Putin knows of that is anyone's guess but what he wants now is something far more than restoring naval access to the Black Sea.

He has already gained that by annexing the Crimea, which has direct road and rail access to Russian territory by bridges across the Kerch Strait between the Black and Azov Seas; but only Ukraine has a harbour of any consequence on the Azov.


The Russian lands along the Azov are mainly agricultural, dotted with small villages and seaside towns; the Azov is shallow on that side, and the River Don and its delta appear non-navigable by anything but small boats up to the city of Rostov. There are no signs of even commercial harbours on the Azov's Russian coast.

Ukraine on the other hand has Mariupol, on the R. Kalnius estuary. This is a sprawling industrial town with a large commercial harbour plentifully served by road and rail, and backed by big industrial estates. It also appears to be extending the water-front with a large area of infilling. The harbour is equipped with what dry-docks, big gantries, railway lines and large-scale processing-plant. It all looks at least very rusty if not derelict, but clearly busy (normally) though there are no ships in the photographs.

I gained the above by ariel reconnaissance (Google 'Earth'), enlarging the images enough to show individual cars.

Wikipedia tells us the city is a major industrial centre, including for grain and steel-making. The Google photograph showed lines of railway wagons full of what looks like coal under the port's bulk-cargo gantries. The nearby installations may be coking plant. It also adds this historical note:

[quote]Following the War in Donbas when the city of Donetsk became the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in 2014, Mariupol was made the provisional administrative centre of the Donetsk Oblast. The city was secured on June 13, 2014 by Ukrainian troops, but has been under attack several times since. The city was besieged and severely damaged during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. [/quote]

By the look of the satellite photographs, the damage may have included the installations around the port - still in ruins when photographed.

Putin seems genuinely to have vastly under-estimated the resistance he would face, not only from the military but worse for him, also the citizens of the Ukraine. That may explain his cowardly tactics in which civilians are the prime targets. One defence analyst speaking on the radio recently said indiscriminate, heavy blows against anyone and anything, particularly residents, are typical Russian war tactics.

He also appears unable to grasp that most Ukrainians also speaking Russian as their second language does not mean they [i]are [/i]Russian, think themselves Russian or want to be Russian.

The objections within Russia to the war, too, have obviously rattled him, as his very harsh clamp-down on dissent and language shows. He seemed to have thought his "special operation" would have been rapid, popular and welcomed by the residents of both countries. One point I heard expressed in one analytical news item was that

The RF Government was prepared for the sanctions and boycotts, at least expecting their imposition though perhaps not their depth. It probably thinks them a price worth paying however costly to the nation and however hard the effects on its subjects' ordinary lives.

Cultural and artistic bans and boycotts probably won't worry a man like Vladimir Putin, beyond propaganda purposes and lost taxes income. So it is hard see to any point in gestures like orchestras dropping the 19C composer Tchaikovsky's works from their calendars.
senghenydd · M
@ArishMell I must say your knowledge of the geography of Ukraine is far better than mine I know roughly what I see on television and listen to news reports, details of the damage and views of thousands of refugees shown in neighbouring countries and some who have managed to get to the United Kingdom.

I mentioned Russia had put their demands on the table well I understand one of their demands has been met by the Ukrainian negotiating team they have agreed not to join NATO the other demands from Russia is for more territory of Ukraine those demands have been turned down that source is from a Russian news report I can't guarantee how accurate a report that is.

I have a report NATO forces are building up in Poland is that to scare the Russians things are hotting up.

Who knows how long this conflict will last there's a suggestion the Russians will use Chemical Weapons I hope that won't happen they have been banned for many years it would be a War Crime it's bad enough bombing Hospitals and killing innocent civilians using conventional weapons.

I personally don't think especially for me the world will ever be the same again after this conflict I've just queued up for ten minutes simply to put petrol in my car everyone is filling up as the petrol prices are rising with these fuel prises also the economy will go out of control everything we buy is transported by road or rail running costs will rise and so will the price of goods and food we'll all pay the price one way or another for this terrible thing Russia has done by invading a neighbouring country.


After Ukraine, Europe wonders who's next Russian target
AOL UK Associated Press
10 March 2022, 3:41 pm
Scroll back up to restore default view.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — For some European countries watching Russia's brutal war in Ukraine, there are fears that they could be next.

Western officials say the most vulnerable could be those who aren't members of NATO or the European Union, and thus alone and unprotected — including Ukraine’s neighbor Moldova and Russia's neighbor Georgia, both of them formerly part of the Soviet Union — along with the Balkan states of Bosnia and Kosovo.

But analysts warn that even NATO members could be at risk, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Russia's doorstep, as well as Montenegro, either from Moscow's direct military intervention or attempts at political destabilization.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "has said right from the start that this is not only about Ukraine,'' said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund’s Warsaw office.

“He told us what he wants to do when he was listing his demands, which included the change of the government in Kyiv, but he was also talking about the eastern flank of NATO and the rest of Eastern Europe," Baranowski told The Associated Press in an interview.

As Ukraine puts up stiff resistance to the two-week-old Russian attack, Baranowski said “it's now not really clear how he'll carry out his other goals."

But the Biden administration is acutely aware of deep concerns in Eastern and Central Europe that the war in Ukraine may be just a prelude to broader attacks on former Warsaw Pact members in trying to restore Moscow’s regional dominance.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that “Russia is not going to stop in Ukraine.”

“We are concerned for neighbors Moldova, Georgia, and the Western Balkans,” he said. “We have to keep an eye on Western Balks, particularly Bosnia, which could face destabilization by Russia.”

A look at the regional situation:


Like its neighbor Ukraine, the ex-Soviet republic of Moldova has a separatist insurgency in its east in the disputed territory known as Trans-Dniester, where 1,500 Russian troops are stationed. Although Moldova is neutral militarily and has no plans to join NATO, it formally applied for EU membership when the Russian invasion began in a quick bid to bolster its ties with the West.

The country of 2.6 million people is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and it's hosting tens of thousands of Ukrainians who fled the war. The invasion has prompted heightened concerns in Moldova not only over the humanitarian crisis, but also because of fears that Putin might try to link the separatists east of the Dniester River with Ukraine via the latter's strategic port of Odesa.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Moldova last week and pledged: "We stand with Moldova and any other country that may be threatened in the same way.”

Moldovan President Maia Sandu said there was no indication yet the Russian forces in Trans-Dniester had changed their posture, but stressed that the concern was there.

“In this region now there is no possibility for us to feel safe,” Sandu said.



War erupted between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 when Georgian government troops tried unsuccessfully to regain control over the Moscow-backed breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russia routed the Georgian military in five days of fighting and hundreds were killed. Afterward, Russia recognized South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent states and bolstered its military presence there.

The government of West-leaning Georgia condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but hasn't shown the same solidarity that Kyiv displayed during the Georgia-Russia war. Hundreds of Georgian volunteers were stopped by authorities from joining an international brigade fighting Russia in Ukraine.

Georgia's seemingly neutral stance has turned out thousands in nightly rallies in central Tbilisi in solidarity with Ukraine. Last week, Georgia's government applied for EU membership just days after declaring it wouldn't accelerate its application as fears of a Russian invasion grew.



Memories of Soviet rule are still fresh in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Since the invasion of Ukraine, NATO has moved quickly to boost its troop presence in its eastern flank allies, while Washington has pledged additional support.

To residents of the Baltic nations — particularly those old enough to have lived under Soviet control — the tensions prior to the Feb. 24 invasion recalled the mass deportations and oppression. The three countries were annexed by Josef Stalin during World War II and only regained their independence with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

They joined NATO in 2004, putting themselves under the military protection of the U.S. and its Western allies. They say it is imperative that NATO show resolve not just in words but with boots on the ground.

“Russia always measures the military might but also the will of countries to fight,” said Janis Garisons, state secretary at Latvia’s Defense Ministry. “Once they see a weakness, they will exploit that weakness.”

Blinken, who visited Latvian capital Riga on Monday, said the Baltics have “formed a democratic wall that now stands against the tide of autocracy” that Russia is pushing in Europe.



It would be hard for Russian troops to reach the Balkans without engaging NATO forces stationed in all the neighboring countries. But Moscow could destabilize the region, as it already does, with the help of Serbia, its ally which it has been arming with tanks, sophisticated air defense systems and warplanes.

The Kremlin has always considered the region its sphere of influence although it was never part of the Soviet bloc. A devastating civil war in the 1990s left at least 120,000 dead and millions homeless. Serbia, the largest state in the Western Balkans, is generally blamed for starting the war by trying to prevent the breakup of Serb-led Yugoslavia with brutal force — a move resembling Moscow's current effort to pull Ukraine back into its orbit by military force.

There are fears in the West that the pro-Moscow Serbian leadership, which has refused to join international sanctions against Russia, could try to use the attention focused on Ukraine to further destabilize its neighbors, particularly Bosnia, where minority Serbs have been threatening to split their territories from the joint federation to join Serbia. Serbian officials have repeatedly denied they are meddling in the neighboring states, but have given tacit support to the secessionist moves of the Bosnian Serbs and their leader, Milorad Dodik.

The Russian Embassy in Bosnian capital Sarajevo warned last year that should Bosnia take steps towards joining NATO, “our country will have to react to this hostile act.” Joining NATO will force Bosnia to take a side in the “military-political confrontation,” it said.

EU peacekeepers in Bosnia have announced the deployment of about 500 additional troops to the country, citing “the deterioration of the security internationally (which) has the potential to spread instability.”

Kosovo, which split from Serbia 1999 after a NATO air war against Serbian troops, has asked the U.S. to establish a permanent military base in the country and speed up its integration into NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Accelerating Kosovo’s membership in NATO and having a permanent base of American forces is an immediate need to guarantee peace, security and stability in the Western Balkans,” Kosovo Defense Minister Armend Mehaj said on Facebook.

Serbia said the move is unacceptable.

Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence is recognized by more than 100 countries, mainly Western nations, but not by Russia or Serbia.

Montenegro, a former ally that turned its back on Russia to join NATO in 2017, has imposed sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine and is seen as next in line in the Western Balkans to join the EU. The country is divided between those favoring pro-Western policies and the pro-Serbian and pro-Russian camps, raising tensions.

Russia has repeatedly warned Montenegro’s pro-Western President Milo Djukanovic, who led the small Adriatic state into NATO, that the move was illegitimate and without the consent of all Montenegrins.

Russia may hope to eventually improve its ties with Montenegro in a bid to strengthen its presence in the Mediterranean.
ArishMell · 70-79, M
@senghenydd Thankyou! On the other hand you know the recent history and politics of Eurasia a lot more deeply than I, though I always knew some areas are very fragile with a lot of old divisions, loyalties and enmities simmering under the surface.

I have an atlas open on the table to help me understand the situation, and I used Google Earth first to study the geographical relationships of the Black Sea, Sea of Azov and their surrounding countries. The atlas maps are too small-scale to show key physical-geography details revealed along with the nature of the settlements and transport links, by the satellite photographs.

That book has been open at that page for nearly two weeks now....

The two seas are linked by the narrow Kerch Straits, with the Crimea on the West bank and the Russian province of Yuzhnyy on the East. Road and railway bridges cross the strsits, utilising an island in the middle. This gives Russia direct land access to the Crimea with its major port of Sevastopol already, without having to take over the Ukrainian coast as they seem to be aiming to do.

Taking Ukraine would threaten Moldova, and if that were to fall the RF would be against much of Romania's Eastern border.


To the South East, over the Caucasus Mountains, are Georgia and Azerbaijan.
If the Russian Federation were to take them over, it would gain direct borders with Turkey and Iran, with poor little land-locked Armenia sandwiched between all of them.

The map also shows a curious little enclave between Armenia and Iran - Naxciva, which is Azerbaijan territory but separated from that by a lump of Armenia.

It is hard to see what if any interest Russia might have in taking over those countries, former Soviet empire notwithstanding, other than either sheer imperialism or some long-term strategic plan.


Russia has a curious little enclave of her own, too. This is the city and province of Kaliningrad, on the Baltic coast and encircled inland by Poland and Lithuania. The main roads enter from Lithuania. Whether the RF would be interested in taking Lithuania to remove that territorial break is another matter, if only because she has direct access anyway for her whole country to the sea at St. Petersburg. Presumably, in normal times, it is not too hard for people and goods to move between or across Kaliningrad and the neighbours, but I have no idea what is happening there at the moment.

Looking carefully at physical and political geography maps shows many clues to possible or actual strategic thinking, but no map can give an insight into the mind of a man like Vladimir Putin.


Regarding other nations in the region, the People's Republic of China has interests there too, as part of its so-called "Belt Road" plan to give her massive trading routes, hence political-influence links, with as much of the developing world as it can. To that end, the PRC is building many new roads and railways to increase its access to her Russian ally and to Western Europe.

This has already included at least one brand-new railway to link China to the Trans-Siberian line, so offering direct services Westwards, a short-cut across the huge "corner" the railway makes round the top of China to reach Vladivostock. It is also building a highly-damaging motorway in one of the poorest parts of Europe - Montenegro or Macedonia, I think, I don't recall exactly - but I am not clear from the maps what it is supposed to link.

China also "owns"" the Greek port of Piraeus. Now, I don't know how if that is simply the management company or the physical water and waterside property. If the latter, one might ask if that turns a small patch of Greece into Chinese territory; though I think the former more realistic. Still though, part of its Belt [and] Road Initiative.

The PRC is also making friendly noises to Afghanistan, despite the terrible irony - I do wonder if the Taliban knows anything about the poor Uyghurs. Or cares. Whether this includes the noises of Chinese lorries delivering masses of famine-relief food, it seems an odd policy. What does Afghanistan have that China wants? Large mineral deposits perhaps? (They share a short proxy border, in a very remote part of Western Tibet; but despite a large settlement below the mountains on the Chinese side there appears no road over the pass and down through what must be among the most remote nature reserves on Earth!)
MrBrownstone · 46-50, M
And just like that,nobody cares About Covid.
Tres13 · 51-55, M
@MrBrownstone until its over then back to Boosters,still monry to be made
[image deleted]
senghenydd · M
@TheOneyouwerewarnedabout Everybody got blown away.
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senghenydd · M
@SW-User I realize that isn't correct however I worked near Cardiff Docks for many years and watched ships being unloaded from ships I think from Ukraine, Ukraine does grow plenty of wheat however the UK can obtain it from elsewhere.
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senghenydd · M
@SW-User The Ukraine has always been a large wheat producing country and no doubt export their grain to many more countries around the world one of my colleagues who worked with me down the docks had an interest in all cargo ships and he knew which ships were which Spillers the grain people had and still have a large interest at Cardiff docks those ships emptied their grain. I was only told be my late friend and colleague as I said he followed the ships and knew everything that was going on and around Cardiff docks no doubt he knew many of ther Dockers whereas I worked in Cardiff but lived outside Cardiff.
JonathanSJ · 31-35, M
Right, Most of the time the country means the top leader only. If top leader and his cabinet want to do something, they will do. There is no say of the people of Ukraine. No free will of Ukranians on if they really want to fight or migrate.

The same thing about Russia too.
senghenydd · M
@JonathanSJ The present Ukrainian government was elected by the people, until now the Ukraine enjoyed their freedom it's now a mess caused by Russia who wants the Ukraine to be part of Russia and the ordinary people are simply like my late parents a generation caught up in a nasty war. I do question the right of the Ukraine in stopping men aged between 18 and 60 years old leaving the Ukraine seems to me they are being nforced to fight.
Oster1 · M
Russia, IMO, want's Ukraine, to be The Ukraine, not a puppet of Western Nations, pilfering!!!!!
senghenydd · M
@Oster1 You'll have to read between the lines on that one.
Oster1 · M
@senghenydd Really? On a map? GPS?
Oster1 · M
@Oster1 I thought so.
It is Russian so it is utter nonsense....but Ukraine has indicated it is willing to discuss neutrality.
@senghenydd Can’t see us negotiating with Russia.
What is there to negotiate about?
senghenydd · M
@TheSirfurryanimalWales Previously our Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met with her Russian counter-part Sergev Lavrov and Ben Wallace our defence secretary met with his Russian counter-part Sergy Suoygu these two meetings took place before the invasion I would like to think they are now talking over the phone trying to sort out this nasty business.
@senghenydd yeah...
Thanks for sharing this, and i fully agree with your last sentence.
senghenydd · M
@SW-User "The ordinary people everytime".

[quote]I just want this bloody business to end it's the ordinary people that get hurt everytime.

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