Understanding the Conflict (LVIII): Russia Aims for “Complete Control” of the Southern Corridor

Five points to understand what is happening in Eastern Europe – and what can change in the lives of all of us.


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is just beginning, and the Russian commander-in-chief’s comments on Friday suggest Moscow is also attacking other countries: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warns in his speech this morning. See the Central Military District. Commander Rustam Minnekayev said yesterday that Russia’s new goal is to take over southern Ukraine by giving it access to Transnistria, Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region. In Moldova, Zelenski noted, Russia claimed that the rights of Russian-speakers had been violated. I quote Zelensky: “To be honest, the area in which Russia must take care of the rights of Russian speakers is Russia itself. Where there is no freedom of speech, there is no freedom of choice. Where there is simply no right to disagree. Where poverty flourishes and where human life is useless. As long as they come to us, they will go to war to steal at least something reminiscent of a normal life. “


Russia revealed yesterday that its attack is aimed at taking “complete control” of southern Ukraine and the eastern Donbass region and establishing a corridor connecting Russia to Crimea, a peninsula it annexed in 2014. Moldova has convened. Russian ambassador opposes Russian general’s claims that Moscow intends to rule southern Ukraine in order to gain access to Moldova’s breakaway region


UN Secretary-General António Guterres is on his way to Kiev, where he will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to a quote from the UN AFP. The trip will take place on Thursday, April 28, and will include a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

This trip will be made two days after Guterres has already been confirmed, next Tuesday in Moscow. On April 26, the UN Secretary-General will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and have lunch with Moscow’s diplomatic chief Sergei Lavrov. This is the first time this has happened since Russia started the war in Ukraine. The Russians supported Guterres in two UN secretary-general elections, but in recent weeks the atmosphere of tension and distance was more than obvious when Guterres considered from the outset that Russia was violating the UK charter. Nations (he was the first UN Secretary-General to do so clearly with regard to a permanent member of the Security Council) and Putin in the following days, accusing the UN of Ukraine’s side.

Several diplomatic sectors criticized Guterres for taking too long to take a clear initiative to put pressure on Russia to end the war, but after letters sent separately to Putin and Zelensk, he has his moments next week. As a fundamental player in the UN’s mediation in this conflict. Let’s see if he can take on this role in a productive way, and let’s hope he doesn’t leave Moscow and Kiev with less results than we all want.


Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, and Russian troops continue air strikes on the besieged city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian authorities say they have found new mass graves. The death toll in Mariupol “is already alarming”, more than 20,000, city council Vadym Boychenko told the BBC earlier and was asked about the atrocities in the besieged city. “Mariupol residents have already made statements about the atrocities they see with their eyes, and they still see it, unfortunately,” he said. According to a Mariupol official, the satellite images show mass graves and “there is some new evidence we have received today from a different area”. “The Russians started this genocide by closing the city and using first artillery and air strikes and then ships that arrived later. There are clear signs of war crime and the genocide of the Mariupols, Bouchenko said.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says a humanitarian corridor could open on Saturday to allow civilians trapped in Mariupol to leave the city. Thousands of civilians and about 500 wounded soldiers are in need of an “immediate withdrawal” from Mariupol, a Ukrainian city destroyed by Russian troops, said Ukrainian Ambassador to Portugal Inna Ohnivets. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces warned of a possible Russian attack on the Kherson region in the south of the country, where an invading army has conducted a series of reconnaissance flights. Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko made it clear: “The success of the Russian invasion in the south depends on the fate of Mariupol. Donetsk Hospital suffered severely from the Russian attack. The fragmentation missile hit Mykolaiv and killed two. Russia moved a dozen elite units from the destroyed port of Mariupol to eastern Ukraine and attacked cities around the region.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses Russia of falsifying the independence vote in Kherson and Zaporizhia. Zelensky calls on residents of the southern parts of the country “to be very careful with the information they reveal to the attackers”. Eight civilians were injured on the spot when Russian troops fired missiles in the Zaporyjija area, Ukrainian newspaper The Kyiv Independent reports, citing the regional military regime.

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