#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Kiev-Moscow, prisoner negotiations begin. 1,026 Marines surrendered to the Russians

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Among the most assertive countries in terms of arms, ammunition, volunteers and possible participation in the conflict in support of Ukraine are certainly the Baltic republics and Poland, followed by Slovakia which has given Ukraine its S-300 defence system.

On 13 April, the presidents of Poland and the Baltic states visited Ukraine and travelled to Kiev, Polish President Duda’s office reported. Of interest is the fact that they were not accompanied by other European or NATO countries, but visited Kiev as a sort of political league.

On the other hand, Macron’s attempts at diplomacy continue, he himself telling the press that he intends to talk to Putin and Zelensky again in the coming days. And he himself did not use the word war crimes against the Russians and called Ukrainians and Russians: brothers.

On the Russian side, relations with satellite countries in the Russian sphere are being implemented: Belarus and Russia are, for example, setting up a joint satellite constellation, as Lukashenko himself told the press. All of this news, when seen in a geopolitical context, shows how far peace is and how close the total break between two blocs is, that of the BRICS and the US-NATO spheres, which for many critics of NATO are the same thing.

In Mariupol, meanwhile, metre after metre and thanks also to a major siege, the Russians and the DPR militiamen are advancing. The Russian Defence Ministry confirms that 1,026 soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces, including 162 officers, have surrendered in Mariupol, this is the 36th brigade. This statement by the Russian ministry confirms Ramzan Kadyrov’s report that more than a thousand marines surrendered voluntarily on 12 April. There are 162 officers and 47 military women among the surrendered soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces. 151 wounded Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th Marine Brigade received basic medical care on the spot.

In the meantime it is reported that Zelensky, after putting Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs, would like to use him as a bargaining chip with the military, even though the head of the currently illegal opposition party is not a military man. The news of the arrest is not new and the man could be in handcuffs since the day Ukraine banned the 11 opposition parties, namely, 21 March 2022.

According to some Russian sources the exchange would be valuable, they claim, but we cannot verify the source, because there would be foreign advisors and NATO officials inside the Azvostal enclave. They are, again according to them, the main purpose of this exchange ‘case’. On both sides, officially, the news is not commented on.

The fear in any case is that if the Russians do not accept the exchange of the prisoners, the Azovs could kill the foreign militiamen to hide the traces of their presence in Mariupol. And more likely, they could use chemical reagents, including hydrochloric acid, to defend themselves and to pollute the aquifers.

In Odessa, meanwhile, the Ukrainians have mobilised their reservists, who have protested and made it known that they do not want to fight, so it seems that the front lines have been enriched by mercenaries of Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian origin. These are said to be men from the combat units of private companies. In Odessa, the defence will be held by the regular army, defence and mercenaries. Of the latter, it seems that 2,000 are already in Odessa, deployed in small groups to avoid becoming targets of Russian missile attacks.

In Mariupol, the Ukrainian DPR, together with Russian soldiers, are preparing a “victory parade” for 9 May. This was announced by the advisor to the self-appointed mayor of Mariupol, Petr Andryushchenko. The organisation of the parade, according to Andryushchenko, should be entrusted to the former deputy of the Mariupol city council, Konstantin Ivashchenko, whom Petushilin has appointed ‘mayor’. All this will take place if the operation on Mariupol is completed by 9 May.

The fighting continues in the Popasnaya area where the Russian National Guard fights alongside Ukrainian militias in the Donbass. Mercenary groups operate here alongside the Ukrainians, including Ichkerians, Georgians and others. On the night of 12 April, following a high-precision sea and air missile attack, the 90th artillery ammunition base of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the town of Chudnov in the Zhytomyr region was destroyed. Finally, it is reported that Russian 9K58 ‘Smerch’ multiple launch systems are hitting the Ukrainian army in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

All this is happening as usual to the detriment of a population, which did not choose, and which in addition to experiencing the war live, mourning every day family members of all ages and genders, swallowed up by smart bombs and bullets, will find itself, according to the World Bank, with a 90% increase in the number of poor people in Ukraine by the end of the year. Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 45% in 2022, the World Bank predicts, adding that the GDP of Eastern European countries as a whole will fall by 30.7% this year.

Graziella Giangiulio