The fierce battle between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for nearly 20 months. Although the situation on the battlefield is still complex and severe, public sentiment regarding ceasefire negotiations has become more prevalent in recent days. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the G20 summit in India this month that Putin is not opposed to negotiations around the conflict. The Ukrainian side also has objective recognition for the negotiations, and its Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that more and more countries in the international community prefer ending the conflict through negotiations, and Ukraine has other diplomatic ways to conduct indirect affairs.
In contrast, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after his visit to Ukraine that restarting negotiations requires joint engagement of Russia and Ukraine. The US pretends to be a bystander, but its recent announcement of a new batch of military aid to Ukraine that even integrates depleted uranium ammunitions discloses its consistent misdeeds in fueling the conflict.
US supply of depleted uranium ammunitions to Ukraine is irresponsible
The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced a new batch of military aid to Ukraine, which is worthy of 175 million US dollars, on September 6. The Pentagon said that the weapons and equipment delivered to Ukraine from the US military inventory include 120 mm caliber depleted uranium shells used for the M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks from the US, and ammunition and navigation communication systems for the HIMAS rocket launchers.
As the first country to develop, deploy and use depleted uranium ammos, this is the first time for the US to supply Ukraine with this type of weapon, which poses significant risks to human health and the environment. When hitting targets, depleted uranium ammos set up fire and release toxic uranium oxide and depleted uranium particles that can be inhaled by humans in aerosol form. Depleted uranium has a long half-life period, its radioactive contamination residuals on the battlefield can last for several years or even decades, imposing enduring risks on the environment and the human food chains.
Analysts believe that the trip of Blinken reflects the Biden administration's firm support of Ukraine's counterattack against Russia. Blinken stated that the latest US assistance will help Ukraine maintain and expand the counteroffensive momentum. The Russian Embassy in the US condemned in a statement on September 6 that the US supply of depleted uranium ammos to Ukraine is "an indicator of inhumanity." Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on September 7 that the US supply of depleted uranium bombs to Ukraine "is not just an escalatory step, but is a reflection of Washington's outrageous disregard for the environmental consequences of using this kind of ammunition in a combat zone", and "is in fact a criminal act."
Ukraine is preparing for a long war
At the plenary session of the 8th Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok, Russia on September 12, Putin pointed out that the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Moscow's forces "has failed, not stalled" . In this regard, the Ukrainian side said that the counterattack is still continuing. The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine announced on September 11 that the Ukrainian forces had successfully regained control from Russia on several offshore oil and gas drilling platforms located near the Crimean Peninsula.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said on September 10 that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has lasted 90 days by now, the progress of which is slower than expected on the Ukrainian side, with many objectives not achieved yet. Ukrainians may have 30 to 45 days left to advance before being hindered by bad weather. "It's too early to say whether it (has) succeeded or failed." Facing high expectations of the counteroffensive from the US and West countries, Ukraine is concerned that the assistance from these countries would be shrunk as a result of its below-expectation counteroffensive operations.
Contradictions between the two sides are not conducive to peace talks
Western countries have always blamed Russia for the ceasefire negotiation issue. According to ABC, Blinken said on September 10 that restarting negotiations requires joint engagement of Russia and Ukraine, “and thus far, we see no indication that Vladimir Putin has any interest in meaningful diplomacy. If he does, I think the Ukrainians will be the first to engage and we'll be right behind them.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky had approved with a decree the decision of its National Security Council on the "impossibility of conducting negotiations" with Russia on October 4, 2022, and has since repeatedly demanded that peace talks should be based solely on his 10-point peace plan , including withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. In this regard, the Russian side has responded that Ukraine lacks "goodwill" for peace talks by setting preconditions.
Putin said at the plenary session of the 8th Eastern Economic Forum on September 12 that Ukraine should first repeal the presidential decree prohibiting any talks with Russia and explain what it wants if it has the willingness to negotiate. When talking about the Western military aid to Ukraine, he asserted that the Western supply of cluster munitions, depleted uranium ammunitions and F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will not change the battlefield situation but simply prolong the war, and the unlimited delivery of these weapons is worrisome. The US government had publicly remarked that the use of cluster munitions is committing war crimes, but it provided these types of weapons to Ukraine nevertheless.
Facilitating peace talks is a daunting endeavor that lies ahead. As Ambassador Geng Shuang, deputy permanent representative of China to the United Nations underscored in his speech to the US Security Council on September 12, "military confrontation is not the way out of Ukraine's crisis, and dialogue and negotiations are the fundamental way to restore peace." China hopes that relevant parties actively cater to the expectations and voices of the international community, stay calm, exercise restraint and seek consensus to avoid further escalation.
Editor's note: Originally published on chinanews.com, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.