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Kremlin Responds To US Claim Putin “Frustrated” Over Ukraine Operation, Says Military Was Told ‘Avoid Storming Major Cities’

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak indicated Monday that the fourth round of Ukraine-Russia negotiations for a ceasefire hadn't made much progress after they went for five hours. He said the stated aims of the talks are "on peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops and security guarantees."

"Although Russia realizes the nonsense of its aggressive actions, it still has a delusion that 19 days of violence against [Ukraine's] peaceful cities is the right strategy," he stated in a social media post. "The parties actively express their specified positions. Communication is being held yet it’s hard," added, and included an image of the talks which are taking place via Zoom (unlike the prior three rounds which were in person just inside Belarus. "The reason for the discord is too different political systems."

Despite lately citing progress in talks, Moscow appears not at all in the mood to compromise, given a flurry of statements out the defense ministry on Monday, including a statement indicating the military "does not rule out" placing major Ukrainian cities under "full control" to ensure the security of civilians". This after Russia's military is coming under Western and international condemnation over civilian deaths, and is accused of repeatedly breaking agreements for humanitarian evacuation corridors.

The Kremlin has also described that the military operation was carefully planned implemented with a key aim to avoid direct attacks on major population centers and to not result in civilian casualties, according to Reuters.

However, the statement charged that the US and EU are currently trying to "temp Russia into attack major population centers" which the Kremlin deems "a provocation".

Via Associated Press: An explosion is seen in an apartment building after a Russian army tank fired in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday.


 

Kiev has witnessed fighting in surrounding suburbs, but there's still yet to be a large-scale assault or bombardment of the city, and days ago the capital's mayor said half its population has already fled. The Kremlin continued in its Monday statement, explaining that the defense ministry was asked by Putin from the start of the operation to "refrain from storming major population centers". According to state sources:

"The aforementioned US and EU officials seem to be pushing Russia to storm major cities in Ukraine in order to lay the blame on our country for the deaths of civilians. We consider this position to be provocative," Peskov told reporters at a briefing Monday.

"At the start of the operation, the Russian president did in fact instruct the Ministry of Defense to refrain from an immediate storming of large settlements, including Kiev, due to the fact that armed nationalist formations are setting up firing points and placing heavy military equipment directly inside residential areas," Peskov added. 

"At the same time, the MoD, while making sure to ensure the maximum security of the civilian population, does not exclude the possibility of taking complete control of those settlements which are practically surrounded, with the exception of zones used for humanitarian evacuation," the spokesman added.

Now more than two weeks into the invasion, the United Nations has said that at least 596 people, including 43 children, have been killed. It said in a weekend statement that over 1,000 civilians, including 57 children, were wounded as of midnight Saturday.

Moscow has highlighted and condemned ramped up Ukrainian national forces attacks on pro-Russian civilians in the Donbas region, which appears confirmed in circulating videos on Monday:

The Kremlin further said Russia has "sufficient" military resources for its military operations in Ukraine, following a series of major Sunday US news reports alleging that Moscow has requested military resupplies of China. Both Beijing and Moscow have firmly denied that such a request ever took place, also with China's foreign ministry saying it has no awareness of this. 

Simultaneous to anonymous Biden admin officials making the allegation Sunday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan commented on Russia's strike of a Ukrainian base that's a mere 10 to 15 miles from the border with NATO member Poland. Sullivan described that Russian attacks are coming on far West Ukraine as a 'warning' to the West due to Putin's "frustration"

"What it shows is that Vladimir Putin is frustrated by the fact that his forces are not making the kind of progress that he thought that they would make against major cities including Kyiv," Sullivan responded. Sullivan added that Putin is now "lashing out" and "trying to cause damage in every part of the country."

In an apparent response to these and other statements from the US, the Kremlin says it is paying close attention to US and EU remarks of Putin "not being happy" with the state of military progress in Ukraine. The Kremlin reiterated that all military plans and goals "will be fulfilled in full" and according to "the time frames outlined". 

Meanwhile Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued urging a West-backed no-fly zone over the country, saying that without it Russian rockets will continue to rain down on civilian centers. 

Further, in a fresh call Monday, Zelensky "pressed US President Joe Biden during their latest call for more sanctions to further squeeze Russia." And as CNN cites, "According to multiple sources familiar with the call, Zelensky specifically asked Biden for further efforts to cut Russia off from international trade and to continue targeting the Russian elite, as the US has continued to add more oligarchs and their families to its sanctions list."

This as a fourth round round of sanctions in being readied by the European Union. Reports Bloomberg: "The EU is putting the final touches to its fourth round of sanctions on Russia, taking aim at more than a dozen additional individuals — including Roman Abramovich — as well as trade in luxury goods and steel." The report adds, "The details may be announced as early as today, just as Russian military activity in Ukraine is getting uncomfortably close to the bloc’s eastern border."


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