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Peace Talks May Be Little More Than Russian Tactics, Analysts Say

“De-escalation is a euphemism for retreat,” said Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London. “Russia is adjusting its goals to reality, because war is quite empirical,” he said. “It’s not a ruse to say that they are concentrating on the Donbas, because in reality that’s all they can do.”

March 30, 2022 / 07:03 PM IST
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022

As envoys made progress in peace talks Tuesday, Russia offered concessions that signaled a more realistic course for the war in Ukraine, while indicating it is also in no hurry to end the conflict, according to diplomats and analysts.

Russia’s deputy defense minister, Alexander Fomin, presented the decision to “sharply reduce” military activity around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv as a gesture “to increase mutual trust for future negotiations.”

But the Russian advance in the north had already stalled, with troops around Kyiv taking up defensive positions in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks there and near Sumy, where Russia has been having trouble encircling the main Ukrainian army east of the Dnieper River.

“De-escalation is a euphemism for retreat,” said Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London. “Russia is adjusting its goals to reality, because war is quite empirical,” he said. “It’s not a ruse to say that they are concentrating on the Donbas, because in reality that’s all they can do.”