One year and one hundred and sixty-three days of the war have passed. There are no serious changes on the front so far. In any case, ISW maps do not show them. And neither have both sides reported anything important today that requires our attention.
The meeting of representatives of 40 states in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) devoted to the Russian-Ukrainian settlement has ended. It is still difficult to draw any conclusions, but I would note some things.
First, Saudi Arabia is reported to have said it was “ready to provide its good services to help achieve a solution that will lead to permanent peace”. It also supported a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s invasion and annexation of sovereign territory in Ukraine.
Given that now (after Ukrainian surface drones damaged a Russian warship and tanker) Russia’s offshore oil exports have become extremely dangerous (at least in the Black Sea), a “good service” from Saudi Arabia could be a sharp increase in oil production in order to stabilize oil prices and prevent them from spiking after Russian volumes fall out of the market.
I have already written about this and I want to remind you again: this is where Kashchey’s death is buried, and this is what Putin fears the most. He has always believed that the key to his financial unsinkability is the cartel alliance with Saudi Arabia. And if this alliance falls apart, Russia will not be able to finance the war.
This is the easiest and most bloodless way to stop the war – simply deprive Putin of money. And the key to this solution is in the hands of Saudi Arabia. Thus, the task of Ukrainian diplomacy (and the diplomacy of its allies, of course) is to convince Saudi Arabia to take this step.
I am sure that the US and Europe have arguments that will make the Saudis take this step. And Saudi Arabia’s statement of “willingness to lend its good offices” seems to me to indicate just that.
Secondly, almost all participants of the meeting are inclined to believe that the final plan should be based on Zelensky’s formula. However, the DPA news agency reports that in addition to the Zelensky plan, an alternative peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia was also discussed.
According to DPA (citing diplomatic sources), this new plan includes preserving Ukraine’s integrity, a ceasefire on all fronts, the start of UN-supervised peace talks and a prisoner exchange. It is also noted that at the talks in Jeddah, Kyiv no longer insisted on accepting Zelensky’s peace plan.
Of course, Ukraine’s representatives immediately denied their rejection of Zelensky’s plan. However, no one denied the fact that an alternative plan had been introduced. But what is its novelty? What is the difference from Zelensky’s plan?
By method of elimination, I came to the conclusion that the Saudis’ plan differs only in the fact that they (while certainly recognizing the borders of Ukraine as of 1991) nevertheless propose to immediately stop hostilities and start negotiations without waiting for the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Whether this plan suits Ukraine or not is up to Zelensky and his team to decide. If the price for its acceptance is Saudi Arabia’s willingness to sharply increase production, then, coupled with a naval blockade of Russian ports, this will deprive Putin of oil revenues. So I would, at the very least, seriously consider this plan.
Because, having lost the ability to finance the war in the necessary volumes, Putin will not be able to maintain his group in Ukraine in a combat-ready state for a long time. And after some time he will either withdraw it himself, or the AFU will simply chase the Russians away, and they will not be able to put up a decent resistance.
However, all this should have been carefully calculated and analyzed. The only thing I firmly believe in is that the Saudi proposal should not be rejected out of hand. And if the decision is made to reject it, all the parties concerned should patiently, very intelligently and reasonably explain why this plan will not work.
We should not lose such important partners as Saudi Arabia. Even their neutral position is very valuable. Sooner or later they will make the right decision.
Today the Ukrainian armed forces struck at the bridges connecting Crimea with the mainland. Both bridges (Chongar and Genichesk) were rendered inoperable. This happened because Ukraine received a new batch of French Storm Shadow missiles (50 pieces).
It is written that the range of the received missile modification is 290 kilometers. This will make it possible to strike deep into the rear of the enemy and reach many targets in Crimea, which have so far been out of reach.
And stopping the movement of military cargoes across the two broken bridges will certainly affect the supply of the Russian grouping on the southern front. And, therefore, it will increase the chances of the Ukrainian armed forces breaking through the “Surovikin’s rampart” and reaching the Sea of Azov.
This will qualitatively change the situation and create good conditions for the start of negotiations with Russia. That is when Saudi Arabia’s plan might come in handy. One way or another, Putin will inevitably be defeated.
Because our cause is just. The enemy will be defeated. We will win.
Glory to Ukraine!🇺🇦