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"Golden ladder" for Putin, Peskov's lie, and UN panic: Western media digest as of March 14

Photo: Collage The Page

Photo: Collage The Page

Western media continue to cover the war in Ukraine—today, on March 14, the British report that Putin needs to "build a golden ladder" so that he feigns to have won the war and possible compromises—from Ukraine's neutral status and refusal to join the EU to the "temporary" surrender of Crimea and the "thorny issue of Donbas".

The Americans write about false statements by Putin and Peskov that they did not plan to capture Ukrainian cities because it threatens the civilians (while the civilians continue to die from missile strikes and the blockade of Mariupol), and the UN suddenly began to sound the alarm because that poor countries will not get food and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia.

Meanwhile, the United States and China want to discuss the crisis situation with the war in Ukraine and find some compromises to resolve it—we have already reported that the Americans are putting pressure on Beijing to take a stand against the Russian Federation together with them.

The Page offers an up-to-date review of what the European and American media are reporting, covering 18 days of active Russian invasion.


"Golden Ladder" for Putin

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The Telegraph expressed its opinion on how Volodymyr Zelenskyy can convince Vladimir Putin to make peace with Ukraine.

The outlet believes that Kyiv and the West will need to allow the Russian president to claim victory, even if he has really suffered defeat.

The British government is fond of saying that Vladimir Putin "must fail" and be seen to fail in his invasion of Ukraine, the journalists note.

But if the Russian president has the choice of a humiliating defeat, which could bring his regime’s survival into question, or further escalation, he may well double down on his bloody war.

The risks of cornering an isolated leader who values strength above all else appear considerable, given Putin’s dark hints about his nuclear arsenal.

Ukraine and the West may have to build him a "golden ladder" to climb down before peace can be made.

Protecting Zelenskyy and no decisions without Ukrainians

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Putin will not accept public defeat and so must be given something he can sell as victory. He must fail but he can not be seen to have failed; at least not in Russia, the outlet notes.

Nothing should be agreed without a ceasefire and any eventual peace deal must be negotiated and supported by the Ukrainians.

There must be no sense of Ukraine’s future being decided by foreign powers such as the US, which would only make Putin’s accusations that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a Western puppet and posturing over spheres of influence credible, the British authors believe.

Mr Zelensky, reportedly a target for Russian assassins, must remain both safe and the president of Ukraine if the peace deal is to have any chance.

Quote"The longer the fierce Ukrainian resistance can bog down the Russian invaders, the stronger his hand in painful and difficult negotiations with Moscow," the outlet stresses.

A fig leaf for Putin: Ukraine's refusal to join NATO?

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Zelenskyy suggested there were improved prospects for peace over the weekend. Ukrainian and Russian officials had begun exchanging "concrete proposals" Zelensky said as he called on Putin to meet him face-to-face in Jerusalem for peace talks.

QuoteOne of Russia’s pretexts for the invasion was the Eastern expansion of Nato. Kyiv could commit to neutrality, in a similar way to how Austria did in 1955, and end its prospects, however slim they ever were, of joining the alliance," The Telegraph believes.

Ukraine has also applied to join the European Union. That is a more problematic ambition to sacrifice, given that "Ukrainians have died in the attempt to achieve it," the journalists note.

Other neutral nations such as Finland, Sweden, and Austria are members of the EU but membership is a long, difficult and highly technical process that some governments are reluctant to expedite for Ukraine.

A fudge could be found that would allow for closer economic relations with the bloc without full membership in the immediate future, while paying lip service to Kyiv’s European ambitions.

Ukraine could eventually join the European Economic Area, which counts non-EU states such as Norway and Iceland and gives them access to the Single Market, as a kind of halfway house, the Telegraph reports.

"Thorny issue of Crimea and Donbas"

Photo: @oksana_kuliesh/Instagram

Photo: @oksana_kuliesh/Instagram

There is the thorny issue of Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, and the status of the so-called pseudo-republics of the DPR and LPR.

Moscow has stated that recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and devolved autonomy for the Kremlin-backed separatist regions could help end the war.

Such a deal, which Russia claims is foreseen in the Minsk peace agreements (this is not so—the agreements provided for a certain autonomy, but by no means "independence", which would also automatically extend the dependence of these territories on Russia—Ed. note), would carry huge political cost for Volodymyr Zelensky personally.

Moreover, this will give the Russian puppet regime far too much influence in Ukrainian politics, the authors of the article admit.

Quote"Even if the issue of Crimea is resolved, at least temporarily, full devolution for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is almost certainly a bridge too far," the article reads further.

But it may be possible to negotiate the Russians down towards a compromise settlement, which could potentially involve international peacekeepers.

The West can offer the possibility of lifting some of the sanctions it imposed on Moscow to get a peace deal.

The removal of the unprecedented measures must be piecemeal and closely tied to Russian observance of the agreement. There is always the risk Putin may invade again to consider, the British note.

Quote"Grubby and unsatisfactory compromises may have to be made to secure a peace Putin does not deserve but Ukraine needs," the authors write.

How Putin's "special operation" turned into an "act of restraint"

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The New York Times reports that confronting a determined Ukrainian resistance and heavy casualties on the battlefield, the Kremlin sought on Monday to portray its failure to capture most major cities in Ukraine as an act of restraint.

Responding directly to U.S. and European statements that Russian forces were making "slow progress" in large cities, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitriy Peskov, said that President Vladimir Putin had ordered Russian troops to "refrain from storming large cities including Kyiv" before the invasion.

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

This is a vile lie: we have already reported about how the Russian propaganda outlet RIA-Novosti accidentally published an article about "Putin’s new world" on February 26, 2022, two days after the invasion began. This article described the rapid liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis, about Ukraine return back into the fold of the "family of fraternal peoples" and plans to bring the Anglo-Saxons to their knees.

Now Peskov claims that Russia did not capture major cities for the following reason:

Quote"Armed clashes in urban areas would inevitably lead to big losses among civilians."

But he added that Russian forces could still do so because Ukrainian cities are already practically encircled anyway. This is also a lie—here is the latest information about the war in Ukraine as of March 14 from The Page.

In another article, we also reported about the losses of the enemy as of March 14, 2022.

American authors agree with this as well, stressing that Russia has brutally shelled Ukrainian cities and towns, increasingly striking residential areas.

QuoteKharkiv, a thriving metropolis only three weeks ago where tens of thousands of students attended more than a dozen universities, is a wasteland," the outlet reports.

People seeking to flee fighting on the outskirts of Kyiv have been killed by Russian shelling, and hundreds of thousands are without food or clean water in the industrial hub of Mariupol, where Russian forces have laid siege to the city.

Forbidden weapons and Kremlin’s narrative about "Nazis"

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U.S. officials have accused Russia of targeting civilians with cruel and indiscriminate weapons, including cluster munitions. Last week, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council:

Quote"We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield."

According to the Russian narrative, the human suffering in Ukraine is the work of Ukrainian "nationalists" and "Nazis" who use civilians as "human shields."

Peskov made his statements at the same time as Russian and Ukrainian negotiators were meeting for talks. Although both Russian and Ukrainian representatives stated that their positions were coming closer to one another, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said again that he was willing to meet with Mr. Putin — the Kremlin seemed intent on pushing Ukraine further to the brink in order to extract more concessions.

Making no mention of Russian losses or setbacks, Mr. Peskov insisted that the war was going as intended.

Quote"All plans set out by the Russian leadership will be realized in full, within the approved time frame."

Food crisis: UN woke up and sounds the alarm

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The Guardian reports that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is sounding the alarm as the war in Ukraine threatens the supply of wheat and other staple foods abroad. It warns that the world is facing a potential food crisis with soaring prices and the threat of extreme hunger for millions of people.

Maximo Torero, the chief economist at the FAO, said food prices were already high before Russia invaded Ukraine, owing to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The additional strain of war could tip the global food system into disaster, he warned.

Quote"We were already having problems with food prices," he told the Guardian in an interview. "What countries are doing now is exacerbating that, and the war is putting us in situation where we could easily fall into a food crisis."

Wheat prices hit record highs in recent days, though they have fallen back slightly. Overall, food prices have been rising since the second half of 2020, according to the FAO, and reached an all-time high in February in February of the first pandemic year.

At that time wheat and barley prices rose by nearly a third and rapeseed and sunflower oil by more than 60% during 2021. The price of urea, a key nitrogen fertilizer, has more than tripled in the past year, on rising energy prices.

Who may lack food over war against Ukraine

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

At least 50 countries depend on Russia and Ukraine for 30% or more of their wheat supply, and many developing countries in northern Africa, Asia and the near east are among the most reliant.

Poor countries are bearing the brunt of the price increases. Many of the poorest countries were already struggling financially, with some facing debt crises, amid the pandemic.

Quote"My greatest fear is that the conflict continues—then we will have a situation of significant levels of food price rises, in poor countries that were already in an extremely weak financial situation owing to Covid-19," said Maximo Torero. "The number of chronically hungry people will grow significantly, if that is the case."

According to the organization, the war in Ukraine presents multiple threats to food security that will be felt across the world. Ukraine and Russia are major food exporters, so the war directly threatens supplies of staples such as wheat, maize and sunflower oil.

Ukraine alone supplied 12% of global wheat before the war, and was the biggest producer of sunflower oil. About two-thirds of the country’s wheat exports had already been delivered before the invasion, but the rest is now blocked, and farmers may be unable to continue with spring planting, or take in grain harvests in the summer.

Crisis with fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia

Photo: agravery.com

Photo: agravery.com

The crisis goes deeper not only over food: Ukraine and Russia are also major producers of fertilizer, prices for which had already leapt under high energy prices, and the war is sending energy prices higher still, with further impacts on agricultural production costs.

There is also the threat of countries closing their markets in response. The worst food price spikes in recent memory struck in 2007-08 and resumed in 2010-12, caused by high energy prices followed by poor weather. Those sudden peaks contributed to riots and political upheavals, the shocks of which are still being felt.

The agriculture ministers of the G7 group of richest countries met on Friday to coordinate a response, urging countries to keep markets open.

Russia played a role in the crises more than a decade ago, with restrictions on exports, especially in 2010 when Vladimir Putin banned all grain exports after drought in key growing regions. If the Kremlin leader were to restrict or redirect exports again, it would cause severe problems in global food markets.

Quote"Right now, we can’t say prices are higher than in 2007-08, but it can get worse," Torero said.

Torero urged countries to keep food systems open. Countries should also try to diversify their suppliers. According to him, even if the conflict were to be resolved quickly, the impacts would be felt for some time.

US threatens China, but heading out for talks with Beijing

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

The US states China will face consequences if it helps Russia evade sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine, the BBC reports.

In a CNN interview, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said they were "communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them".

Quote"We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world," he said.

However, US presidential adviser Jake Sullivan is going to meet with Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi on March 14. The meeting will be held in Rome, the White House website reports.

The two sides will discuss ongoing efforts to manage the competition between states and the impact of Russia's war against Ukraine on regional and global security.

Instead of an afterword. Western outlets continue to analyze the possibilities for making peace between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, not fully understanding a number of fundamental issues for Kyiv. The rhetoric that "something about Crimea can be resolved temporarily", and the recognition of ORDLO is "perhaps a bridge too far", suggests that they also assess the current situation and moods in Ukraine from afar.

Another interesting proposal is the assumption that Putin needs to be shown that he has won, and then maybe there will be no "big war". This is akin to another attempt to reconcile the aggressor and again reminds of the history of the Second World War, when the Munich Agreement of 1938 did not end with anything good for the then Czechoslovakia.

The lies of Putin and Peskov that the Russians did not initially plan to capture the major cities of Ukraine, of course, testify to the weakness of the occupying army position in the war, but new strikes on cities also indicate that the Kremlin had no humane plans then or now. He continues the genocide of the Ukrainian nation, eliminating people and infrastructure without hesitation.

Meanwhile, the UN, which has already shown the whole weakness of the world system of global security, suddenly woke up and began to sound the alarm because of the risk of a "global food crisis." But the call to keep markets open is unlikely to save poor countries from it. Only an immediate cessation of the war could help here, requiring more help from the West so that Ukraine can protect its skies and ward the invaders off beyond its borders. Kyiv has been fighting for the right of the state to exist for 19 days.

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