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Ukraine: Transnistria, martial law in Russia, the risk of escalation of the conflict raises fears of a long-term war

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The master of the Kremlin will not be limited to the Donbass, estimates this Tuesday, May 10, Washington, while the agreement on the Russian oil embargo could take place this week according to France. The point of what to remember today.

US intelligence, which predicted the invasion of Ukraine, now expects a long-term war. “We believe that President Putin is preparing for a protracted conflict in Ukraine, during which he still intends to achieve objectives beyond the Donbass,” the US intelligence chief told a hearing on Tuesday. in Congress.

US intelligence services believe that the Russian army wants to “extend the land bridge” (in southern Ukraine) to Transnistria, a region of Moldova that seceded in 1990.

Transnistria, martial law…a risk of escalation

If it is “possible” that the Russian forces achieve this objective in the coming months, “they will not be able to reach Transnistria and include Odessa without decreeing a form of general mobilization”, she added.

Vladimir Poutine does not have, indeed, at this stage, the means of his ambitions, according to his analysis. This “probably means that we will evolve in the coming months according to a more unpredictable trajectory and potentially escalation“, observed Avril Haines.

“The current trend increases the chances that President Putin will turn to more drastic measures, including the establishment of martial law,” she said. How far will Vladimir Putin go? According to the boss of American intelligence, he “will only order the use of nuclear weapons if he perceives an existential threat for the Russian state or regime”.

Analysis which overlaps with that of several experts, such as Montpellier’s Carole Grimaud Potter, Tuesday, in our columns. The Russian president could resort to this extreme “if he thinks he is losing the war in Ukraine and that NATO is either intervening or preparing to intervene”. But, even in this hypothesis, “it is likely that he would send signals” before doing so, noted Avril Haines.

To satisfy his ambitions, the master of the Kremlin “probably counts on a weakening of the determination of the United States and the European Union when the shortages of food goods and the rise in energy prices will worsen”, has she warned.

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Joe Biden has already sent a clear message to the master of the Kremlin on Monday by signing a law to speed up the shipment of military equipment to Ukraine. Thus reactivating an emblematic device dating from the Second World War.

The US Congress still follows, moreover, the tenant of the White House in its unwavering support for kyiv. He is now working to release a new envelope of nearly 40 billion dollars.

France believes in an agreement this week on Russian oil

The countries of the European Union should reach an agreement “within the week” on a draft embargo on Russian oil, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune said on Tuesday.

“I think we can have an agreement within the week, that is in any case the aim of the French presidency” of the Council of the European Union, he said on LCI, adding that “he there will be a sixth package of European sanctions”.

This new series of sanctions against Russia proposed last week by the European Commission in response to the Russian offensive in Ukraine launched on February 24 comes up against the reluctance of several countries in the bloc, in particular Hungary, which are heavily dependent on imports of Russian oil.

New discussions were to be held late Tuesday morning between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and several European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron.

But a spokesperson for the commission said that this videoconference would ultimately not take place today, without giving further details.

On the other hand, bilateral discussions were held in the morning between Emmanuel Macron and Viktor Orban on the energy security of Europe, indicated the Elysée.

“It was a question of following up on the discussions between Ursula Von der Leyen and Viktor Orban to finalize, in a spirit of solidarity, the guarantees which are necessary for the conditions of oil supply in the Member States which are currently in a situation very specific with regard to pipeline supply from Russia,” said the Elysée.

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Discussions are continuing at all levels to reach “as quickly as possible a complete agreement” on a sixth set of sanctions against Moscow, added the Elysée.

“We are looking for solutions”, said Clément Beaune, mentioning for example deadlines adapted to national particularities or guarantees of alternative supply, to assure the countries most dependent on Russian oil of European solidarity in order to maintain the unity of the bloc against Russia

Baerbock calls for justice for Boutcha victims

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock began a visit to Ukraine on Tuesday, the first by a senior member of the Berlin government since Russia invaded the country on February 24.

Annalena Baerbock went first to Boutcha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, where Russian forces are suspected of having committed war crimes. Moscow rejects these allegations.

Many bodies of civilians were discovered in early April in the streets of this city northwest of the Ukrainian capital after its reconquest by Kyiv forces.

Accompanied by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Annalena Baerbock demanded that those responsible for the alleged atrocities committed in the city be brought to justice.

“That’s what we owe the victims,” ​​she said. “And those victims, you can feel it here very strongly, could have been us.”

The visit by the German foreign minister comes amid easing tensions between Berlin and Kyiv, sparked by past statements by the German government in favor of dialogue with Russia or Germany’s initial refusal to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine.

Germany has since become one of the main arms suppliers to Ukraine and defends the application of heavy sanctions against Russia, including the possibility of an embargo on Russian oil.

In mid-April, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a long-time supporter of a policy of reconciliation with Moscow and a social-democratic ally of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, claimed that a visit he was planning to make to Ukraine had deemed undesirable by Kyiv authorities.

The dispute now seems settled, Olaf Scholz and Frank-Walter Steinmeier having been invited by Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky to visit the country.

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