March 29, 2023
Zelensky has been continually feeding tens of thousands of troops into the meat grinder in Artyomovsk. Many wonder what the purpose of this is, given that he is not going to have an army for much longer, and hes yet to make any progress at all.
He has explained that he is worried that if he surrenders the city, he will be pressured to make peace with Russia.
Its really wild that the US and Ukrainian governments are able to so openly frame themselves as actively pro-war and entirely opposed to ending the war.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said that if his troops were to surrender the city of Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, his government would come under domestic and international pressure to seek peace with Russia.
Our society will feel tired, he told the Associated Press (AP) in an interview released on Wednesday. Our society will push me to have compromise with them.
So he admits that a compromise is very possible and easy.
Yet, hes never put a number on how many lives he is willing to sacrifice in order to avoid peace. The implication has always been all of them.
Its notable also that this is the very first time Ive heard Zelensky acknowledge that public pressure could ever force him to do anything. Hes always taken a very hard stance against the population, and insisted he be able to force his will on them.
Western officials have described Artyomovsk, the scene of fierce fighting for several months, as lacking in military importance. Behind closed doors, they along with Zelenskys own military leadership have reportedly urged the president to order a withdrawal, so that his forces can focus on preparing a counteroffensive with heavy weapons provided by the US and its allies.
Speaking to AP mostly in English, during what the agency described as a morale-building journeyby train across Ukraine, Zelensky suggested that Russia would be emboldened if it were to capture Artyomovsk.
Russian President Vladimir Putin would sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran, he predicted. If he will feel some blood smell that we are weak he will push, push, push.
We cant lose the steps because the war is a pie pieces of victories. Small victories, small steps, Zelensky added.
The battle for Artyomovsk, a key logistics hub, has been one of the fiercest and bloodiest in the Ukraine conflict so far. According to media reports, Kiev has lost some of its most experienced troops while holding the city. It has also allegedly been pouring in newly conscripted, untrained soldiers, to shore up the defensive line, leading to significant casualties.
Basically, everyone on the Ukraine side is dying.
The assumption is that Russia has set this up to just keep going indefinitely, because they are able to kill so many Ukrainians in this one stupid spot. That is why, presumably, certain forces have been urging Zelensky to surrender the city. He is sacrificing untold numbers of people for no reason.
But he may be right that if he lost the city, the people would rise up and force him to accept peace.