On the 50th day of the war in Ukraine, a solution to the conflict remains elusive

At dawn on February 24, Russian troops entered the Ukrainian territory. 50 days later, they are still there and the fighting is centered around Mariupol. The situation appears to be inseparable militarily as well as diplomatically.

That was on February 24. After weeks of tension — and eight years of clashes between Kyiv and the breakaway republics in the country’s east — Vladimir Putin launched his forces to attack Ukraine. This Thursday marks the fiftieth day of the Russian aggression.

Since then, the blitzkrieg that the Kremlin dreamed of has faded, and at the end of the six weeks of fighting the front seems to have stabilized. or swamp. Because while the main fighting is now taking place in the southeast of Ukraine, around the port of Mariupol, awaiting a possible major Russian attack in the neighboring Donbass, the situation is also closed at the geopolitical and diplomatic level. BFMTV.com is assessing the conflict on Thursday.

• A humanitarian ceasefire “seems impossible”

During the 50 days of war, many tried to get the two warring nations out of the impasse. International negotiations are already going on. World leaders continue to pressure Moscow to open humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians. But neither Emmanuel Macron, his phone calls to the Kremlin, nor Austrian Chancellor Karl Nahammer, and his visit to Vladimir Putin on Monday within its walls, did not succeed. And on Wednesday, it was the turn of the United Nations to despair.

During a press conference, UN Secretary-General António Guterres abandoned his ambition for a “humanitarian ceasefire” on the front.

“This is what we have been asking for on humanitarian grounds, but it does not appear to be possible,” he told reporters.

His deputy, Martin Griffiths, may have been sent to Moscow to collect guarantees on the delivery of relief to civilians in conflict-affected areas, even with regard to possible evacuations, the head of the international organization acknowledged that these requests have gone unheeded.

• Russia threatens Ukrainian command centers

So Russia continues to broadcast its chest on the landscape of the planet. But these past fifty days have not explicitly asserted that they dominate the military balance of power. And the war launched by it has already changed several times, under the influence of circumstances, the Ukrainian resistance and its inability to win the decision. Gone are the Blitzkrieg, the venue for positional warfare and siege warfare. The offensive ended in the northeast, and the Kremlin recognized the need for its soldiers to withdraw to the southeast.

However, if Moscow abandons its initial priority and goal, that is, the city of Kyiv, the regime threatens to return to it. And indeed, on Wednesday, the spokesman for the local Defense Ministry broke into, citing Ukrainian shootings and acts of sabotage committed on Russian soil:

“If such events continue, the Russian army will carry out strikes on decision-making centers, including in Kyiv, which the Russian army has refrained from doing so far,” he added.

The Kremlin may be drowning in its attempts to intimidate, it has already lost a lot on the ground. According to the Dutch Oryx website – which follows the development of the conflict step by step by listing the physical damage to the two enemies thanks to examination of photos and videos – the Russians have already left in the battle 2,884 vehicles, of which 1,538 were. Simply destroyed in the heat of the fight. In turn, the Ukrainians lost 774 vehicles, of which 353 were also destroyed.

• The tragic fate of Mariupol

However, it would be a mistake to bury the Russian military’s ability to harm and downplay the seriousness of the military situation in Ukraine. Thus, one question now hangs over Mariupol – located on the shore of the Azov Sea – which asserts itself as a symbol of this war: this city, the capture of which would allow the Russians to unite their sphere of influence in the southeast of Ukraine, has it already fallen or is it on the verge of falling?

Because by accepting the Ukrainian army itself – according to a press release published Monday on Facebook by the 36th National Marine Brigade – there is nothing else to hope for in this city, so to speak, erased from the map, 90% flattened and besieged as it has been for days. The first to invade. Ukrainian soldiers have already admitted that they are about to surrender, due to a lack of ammunition.

However, clashes continued in the industrial zone of the conglomerate. Separatist forces allied with the Russians, for their part, demand full control of the port.

An assertion that is difficult to verify, as well as this declaration from Moscow according to which more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered to the invaders. Kyiv objects to the fact of this alleged surrender, but the local authorities confirmed another, more tragic statistic, denouncing the deaths of at least 20,000 people in Mariupol.

• Turning Ukraine into a vast “crime scene”

Mariupol, Posha, Borodinka, Kramatorsk. As the war follows its harsh course, mass graves follow one another. Even the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Britain’s Karim Khan, on Wednesday described Ukraine as a vast “crime scene”.

“Ukraine is a crime scene. We are here because we have good reason to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court are being committed,” he developed during his visit to Bucha.

The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, has already launched an investigation. International experts – including French sent by the Ministry of Justice – are traveling to the field to shed light on Russia’s war crimes.

• The international community is now divided

If the conflict is taking place before the eyes of the world, then it is clear that international harmony has lived and that positions are beginning to diverge according to the regions of the world. During a trip to Ukraine this weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to deliver armored vehicles to Ukraine, reversing the desire of European Union members to be content with sending exclusively defense materials. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden followed suit, drafting new aid equivalent to $800 million for Ukraine, including heavy equipment.

The contradictions between the different actors are also of a semantic nature. Thus, North American leaders – first Joe Biden, then Canadian Justin Trudeau – no longer hesitate to mention the ongoing “genocide” in Ukraine. An accusation that the Russians considered “unacceptable”. Much of the international community prefers caution on this issue. And this is how Antonio Guterres was evacuated during his press conference:

“Genocide is strictly defined in international law. At the United Nations, we rely on the legal determination of appropriate jurisdictions.”

Emmanuel Macron also refused to use the term sulfur. Wednesday, on the set of 4 facts From France 2, he explained his position: “What is happening is crazy, it is incredibly brutal (…) but at the same time I look at the facts and I want to try as much as possible to continue being able to stop this war and rebuild peace, I am not sure that Escalation of speech serves the cause.” His German partner, Chancellor Olaf Schultz, also shares his view.

Warning goes badly in Ukraine. Following the French president’s statement, his counterpart in Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelensky, denounced the “extremely harmful” remarks.

At the end of these 50 days of war, a resolution of the conflict is still a long way off, and the fault lines seem to be even more hollow.

Robin Werner BFMTV journalist

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