Putin’s peace for Ukraine and Moldova

On 14 June, Vladimir Putin announced so-called peace proposals for Ukraine. In particular, they included demands that Kyiv cede four regions of Ukraine and officially abandon its course to join NATO. This was supposed to lead to a “resolution and termination of the conflict” instead of its freezing.

The Ukrainian authorities naturally refused these proposals, which are in fact another ultimatum from the Kremlin regime. This is an attempt to legitimize the occupation of Ukrainian territory, which is contrary to international law and the principle of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Kyiv’s position was also supported by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. No one believes Putin’s promises to withdraw troops and abandon his aggressive plans. And here it should be noted that, as always, it is not the statements from Moscow that should be followed, but the actions of the Russian regime.

The actions are as follows: the Russian army continues to take active offensive actions, including in the Kharkiv direction (which is not officially mentioned in Putin’s statement). In Europe, arrests of agents recruited by Russia who were supposed to carry out sabotage are taking place one after another.

In Paris, three Moldovan citizens were arrested who may have been involved in the coffin provocation. A 26-year-old Columbian citizen who was preparing to set fire to a bus depot was arrested in Prague. He poured petrol over three public transport buses parked at a garage in Prague 9 City District, set them on fire, and fled. The attacker was recruited by Russians via the Telegram channel, offering $3000 for the job. The Russian spy was arrested in Denmark. And this is just for the last month.

Russian attacks in cyberspace continue. For example, Microsoft has warned that sophisticated Russian cyberattacks are “more aggressive” and may become more challenging to prevent. Microsoft Vice President Brad Smith warned the US politicians that Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) “continues to be one of the best-supplied and most sophisticated cyber agencies worldwide.”

Even more worrying is the recent joint statement released by the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom on Russia’s subversive activity and electoral interference targeting Moldova. According to the statement, the Kremlin is seeking to undermine Moldovan democratic institutions in the lead-up to the October presidential elections and a referendum on Moldova’s EU membership.

Russian actors are carrying out a plot to influence the outcome of Moldova’s autumn 2024 presidential election.  They intend to incite protests in Moldova if a pro-Russian candidate does not win.  They seek to foment negative public perceptions of Western governments and Moldova’s incumbent leadership while degrading public confidence in Moldova’s ability to secure itself and maintain the rule of law.  

Russia is currently supporting candidates for Moldova’s presidency and is exacerbating societal tensions. 

These Russian actors are actively using disinformation and propaganda online, on the air, and on the streets to further their goals.  They are agitating criticism of the incumbent Moldovan president’s government and political party, in order to incite protests.  Part of these operations would include spreading lies about the incumbent president’s character and intentions, and about alleged electoral irregularities. 

If Russia’s election meddling proves unsuccessful in Moldova, there is reason to believe Moscow will work to incite protests.

Such actions make clear the true intentions of the Kremlin regime – it is by no means a real desire for peace. After a series of successful long-range strikes on Russian air defense positions, headquarters, airfields, and logistics, the Russian army desperately needs a break to recuperate. This is the real reason for Putin’s “peacekeeping proposals”. The timing of this statement is no coincidence either – just before the Peace Summit to be held in Switzerland. In this way, the Kremlin regime is trying to create an image of peacefulness, while Ukraine is allegedly the only party to the conflict that wants the war to continue.

If the international community believes in Putin’s sweet promises, after restoring its forces and mobilizing additional soldiers and equipment, the Russian army will continue its offensive against Ukraine, and after conquering  Ukraine – against the rest of its neighbors, Moldova, Poland, and the Baltic states. 

This view is shared by many international experts, in particular it was stated  in the recent article written by Peter Dickinson, editor of the Atlantic Council’s UkraineAlert service. He argued that there are more than a dozen other countries including Finland, Poland, the Baltic states, Belarus, and Moldova that were once part of the Russian Empire and therefore meet Putin’s definition of “historically Russian.” All would be potential targets.

Ukraine’s victory is the only reliable safeguard against the growth of aggression, the only guarantor of a just peace in Europe.

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