Russian invasion: Putin wants buffer zone near Kharkiv

Russian invasion: Putin wants buffer zone near Kharkiv

At the end of his trip to China, Kremlin chief Putin praised Beijing’s efforts to find a solution to the conflict over Ukraine. He once again asserts that he is ready to negotiate. There is already a basis for this.

According to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, Russia does not want to occupy the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, which has been under fire for weeks, and supposedly only wants to set up a buffer zone there. As of today there are no plans to take Kharkiv, Putin told representatives of Russian state media at the end of his visit to China in the city of Harbin.

A reporter asked him the question after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the massively attacked Kharkiv region on Thursday. Zelensky spoke of a stabilization of the situation there. The Russians had only reached the first of three defense lines, Zelensky told reporters.

Putin stated that Russia is currently setting up a buffer zone there because the Russian Belgorod region is being bombarded with drones and missiles from Kharkiv. Ukraine has itself to blame for the recent massive blows against the Kharkiv region because it repeatedly attacks Russian territory.

The authorities in Belgorod again reported massive drone fire from the Ukrainian side. Among other things, a car was hit and a woman and her four-year-old son were killed, said Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. Other regions also reported drone attacks from the Ukrainian side and there were several fires. However, Kharkiv has been under massive fire from Russian troops since the beginning of the war.

The situation around Kharkiv is currently still considered tense. Former Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy head of the National Security Council, had previously described Zelensky’s trip to Kharkiv as a farewell visit. Because the leadership in Moscow repeatedly refers to Kharkiv as a Russian city, many experts assume that the Kremlin also wants to annex the region. Putin denied this for the first time with the caveat that it was not currently planned.

Dead in Russian air strike on Kharkiv

According to authorities, at least two people were killed in a Russian air strike on Kharkiv. In addition, 25 people were injured, the city administration said. Russian planes dropped two glide bombs on the city on Friday, regional governor Oleh Synjehubov wrote on Telegram.

Russia fired missiles at the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa on the Black Sea on Friday. One person was killed and eight others were injured, said Governor Oleh Kiper.

At the same time, Russian ground troops continued their offensive in the border area near Kharkiv that began a week ago, as Ukrainian commander-in-chief Olexander Syrskyj wrote on Telegram. The Russian army has now widened this new front to around 70 kilometers. This should force the Ukrainians to deploy more brigades from the reserve. However, the enemy did not manage to break through the Ukrainian lines. Russia used air force, rockets, artillery and tanks in the attacks. Syrskyj saw an advantage for the Ukrainians in drones and more precise artillery fire.

Putin praises China and criticizes peace summit in Switzerland

At the end of his trip to China, Putin expressly praised Beijing’s efforts to end the conflict over Ukraine. He said he spoke in detail with party and state leader Xi Jinping about the war. China describes itself as neutral in the conflict, but is considered a supporter of Russia. At the same time, Putin criticized the Ukraine peace summit planned in Switzerland. The conference planned for June 15 and 16 near Lucerne was an attempt to impose conditions on Russia to end the conflict, he said.

Ukraine and the West hope that China will send a representative to the summit in Switzerland to give the meeting more weight. Speaking to journalists in Kiev, Zelensky said that many states would take part in the meeting. He reminded that China also supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and has no understanding for annexations in the country. The aim of the summit in Switzerland is a communiqué for a solution to the conflict. Ukraine wants to achieve energy security and an exchange of all prisoners, said Zelensky.

Putin criticized the fact that Russia was not invited to the meeting but was constantly being accused of not taking part. Russia’s allies also see little point in the meeting if both warring parties do not take part.

Putin reiterated that Russia is ready to negotiate. He reminded once again that shortly after the start of the war there was an agreement with the Ukrainian side in Istanbul to resolve the conflict. There was a finished document that could now serve as a basis for new negotiations, Putin said. At the end of April, the newspaper “Welt” also quoted from the paper under the title: “The secret document that could have ended the war in Ukraine.” According to Putin’s statement, Kiev and the West decided to continue the fight.

Ceasefire for the Olympics? Zelensky and Putin speak out

Zelensky and Putin spoke separately about the French idea of ​​a ceasefire during the Summer Olympics in Paris. The details of the initiative were not clear to him, especially since Russia could use the opportunity to move more military technology towards Ukraine, said Zelensky, according to the online newspaper “Ukrainskaya Pravda”.

The Ukrainian head of state stressed again that there had already been a ceasefire, but that it was not working with the Russian enemy. The question also arose “who will ensure that during a ceasefire their forces do not advance towards us.” It is possible to move equipment during this time and then launch an attack, the president warned. “So I don’t understand the details. To me, this sounds like an unviable story so far.”

Kremlin chief Putin said that Xi had raised the issue with him. Putin himself did not comment further on the content of his conversation. However, he criticized the fact that the West is demanding that Russia adhere to an Olympic peace agreement, but is not adhering to the Olympic spirit by excluding Russian athletes.

The Kremlin had previously expressed doubts about one of the French initiatives because Ukraine could use the Games period from July 26 to August 11 to further rearm and regroup its armed forces for war. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there were no concrete official proposals from Paris on how to proceed.

The idea of ​​Olympic Peace dates back to antiquity, but was also incorporated into the revival of the Games in modern times. All hostilities should cease during the sporting event. However, the commandment has been violated several times in the past.

Source: Stern

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