ISW: Three senior Russian leaders step up activities, NATO-Ukraine closely monitors

ISW: Three senior Russian leaders step up activities, NATO-Ukraine closely monitors 0

(Dan Tri) – Three senior Russian leaders have increased information activities to push Ukraine toward negotiations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu (Photo: Reuters)

The US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have recently increased information activities to create a favorable position.

Military analysts at ISW noted Mr. Shoigu’s efforts to warn France to limit its support for Ukraine.

This is said to be part of Moscow’s broader information operation to persuade Western countries to pressure Ukraine to participate in unequal negotiations on Russia’s terms.

The Kremlin used this joint information operation about the escalation with NATO, specifically targeting France, following French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for the West to increase the level and type of security assistance

Mr. Peskov said that NATO and Russia are in `direct confrontation`.

Mr. Peskov said on April 4 that relations between Russia and NATO had `slipped down to the level of direct confrontation` and NATO `has been drawn into the conflict around Ukraine.`

The Kremlin spokesman accused NATO of moving closer to Russia’s borders, possibly referring to the recent accession of Finland and Sweden to the alliance, and said NATO was expanding its military infrastructure closer to Russia.

Military analysts note that Russian officials have long tried to portray NATO and the West as an existential threat to Russia to justify the Kremlin’s extraordinary military campaign in Ukraine.

For example, on March 18, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said that a full-scale war between NATO and Russia was undesirable, however possible.

Peskov’s repeated claims that NATO and Russia are in `direct confrontation` may yet be part of Russia’s campaign of reflexive control, using threatening language to delay and influence

This Kremlin story may also be an attempt to portray NATO’s defense activities as provocative.

Mr. Lavrov also promoted information activities, showing interest in the negotiations.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with heads of diplomatic missions in Moscow on April 4, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once again emphasized that Russia is ready for dialogue to resolve the Ukrainian issue and ensure security.

He emphasized that negotiations will only take place on equal conditions and `must first be based on new realities, based on Russia’s security interests.`

According to ISW, Russia is preparing for a potential war with NATO forces as it carries out military reform, reestablishing the Leningrad Military District and the Moscow Military District in western Russia.

Notable comments in ISW’s April 4 report:

First, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said NATO and Russia are in `direct confrontation,` possibly part of the Kremlin’s efforts to strengthen existing information operations to force the West to restrain itself.

Second, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Army General Valery Gerasimov, called on members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to increase cooperation against threats from the West.

Third, the Kremlin has used this overall escalatory information operation with NATO to specifically target France, following French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent calls for the West to increase the level and

Fourth, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also promoted information activities to demonstrate interest in negotiations, and coordinated information efforts between Messrs. Lavrov and Shoigu could signal a new round of rhetoric.

Fifth, Russian leader Vladimir Putin continues to try to balance the Kremlin’s competing efforts to shape public expectations about Russia’s protracted military campaign and assuage the Russian public’s concerns

On Friday, April 4, Russian troops carried out a mechanized attack in the direction of Chasov Yar (west of Bakhmut) and reached the eastern outskirts of the village.

Seventh, the Russian Army has also recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut and Donetsk.

Eighth, an anonymous senior NATO official said that NATO intelligence agencies have seen no signs that Russia is preparing for a wave of large-scale local mobilization.

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