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Can Ukraine Really Push Russia Completely Out of Crimea and Donbas?

Ukraine Russia
Russian military 305th Artillery Brigade's exercise. 2S5 self-propelled cannon.

Zelenskyy Disagrees With Biden, Rules Out Ukraine Stalemate With Russia  – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy publicly disagreed with U.S. President Joe Biden’s assessment that Ukraine would likely have to cede some of its territories as part of a peace deal with Russia, insisting that a stalemate with Russia is “not an option.”

During an interview with Financial Times editor Roula Khalaf at the Global Boardroom conference on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president reiterated his goal of reclaiming Crimea and pushing Russian troops out of all Ukrainian territory.

Zelenskyy said that pushing Russian troops back to their positions from before the invasion began on February 24 would constitute a “serious temporary victory,” but insisted that obtaining full sovereignty over Ukrainian land – including Crimea, Luhansk, and Donetsk – remained his goal.

Ukraine’s leader also called for additional military and economic aid, describing how Ukrainian forces are weakening.

“We are inferior in terms of equipment and therefore we are not capable of advancing,” he said. “We are going to suffer more losses and people are my priority.”

The comments come as Russia continues to make gains in eastern Ukraine, taking control of every suburb in Severodonetsk, a contested city in the separatist Luhansk Oblast. Britain’s Ministry of Defence also announced on June 3, the 100th day of the war in Ukraine, that Russia was “achieving tactical success in the Donbas.”

“Russian forces have generated and maintained momentum and currently appear to hold the initiative over Ukrainian opposition,” an intelligence update from the British MoD reads. “Russia controls over 90% of Luhansk Oblast and is likely to complete control in the next two weeks.”

Ukraine’s Leader Doesn’t Agree With Biden Or Macron

Zelenskyy’s comments stand in contrast to claims from U.S. President Joe Biden last week that Ukraine could be required to cede territory to Russia as part of a peace deal.

When asked by a reporter during a press briefing about the May jobs report, the president first said that he would not tell Ukraine how to proceed with negotiations with Russia. Biden then said, however, that it looks as though a negotiated settlement could involve ceding some land to Russia.

“But it appears to me that at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here,” Biden said. “And what that entails, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows at the time. But in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to put the Ukrainians in a position where they can defend themselves.”

During the Financial Times interview, President Zelenskyy also dismissed calls from French President Emmanuel Macron to avoid “humiliating” Russia in a war defeat.

“I don’t really understand . . . humiliating Russia. For eight years they have been killing us. What are we talking about here?” Zelenskyy said.

Last week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also criticized Macron’s comments, suggesting that they would “only humiliate France.”

“Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it. Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Stefan Stackhouse

    June 9, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    Any cession of territory will be permanent, while any “peace” that is agreed will likely only be temporary. Not a good bargain, and Ukraine is quite right to reject it. On the other hand, pushing the Russians back and out will come at a cost – a huge cost. It is questionable whether the US and its allied even have the industrial capacity to sustain the supply of weaponry that would be needed for a successful counter-offensive. The Ukrainians may find that they have no choice but to settle in for a protracted “frozen conflict” – not formally ceding lost territory, but unable to regain it either.

  2. greenman

    June 9, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Russia is a paper tiger that had to be rescued by the USA arsenal of democracy from Nazi Germany in the second world war.The usa provided vast amounts of war material to save Stalin from his own ineptitude of killing 90% of Russian general staff shortly before HItler invaded. The USA provided trucks, locomotives and tanks and anything you can think of to Russia. That is not to miss out the UK that sent war aid with the arctic convoys.

    The second world war was a narrow victory for Russia as it lost over twenty million, nocking its population down to size. Russia is now on the other side of the fence, invading a country larger than most of the small countries it usually invaded and with unlimited superior weapon support from nato. Russia has a shrinking population and has engaged in an invasion at the worst time possible.

    • Fluffy Dog

      June 9, 2022 at 3:28 pm

      That was then. Today Russia is fighting under-equipped Ukraine, not the Nazi war machine. They outnumber Ukrainians in equipment 10:1.

      A lot depends on artillery systems that were promised but not delivered yet. The other part is coastal defence/anti-ship missiles which were also promised.

  3. greenman

    June 9, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    An update, the Russian military are replacing destroyed T72 tanks with obsolete T62 tanks, which can be destroyed by a rocket propelled grenade. This means the Ukrainians do not need to use the expensive western weapons that cost thousands of dollars.
    In addition to illustrate how threadbare the Russian weaponry has become, they are bringing old mines dating back to the 1950’s into ukraine and in the process some troops died from one exploding due to the unsafe age of the device. he

    This raises the question that for a country receiving billions in oil revenue, where has the money gone, maybe gold, fittings in Putin’s palace and for his chums?

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