Exclusive: Putin wants Ukraine ceasefire on current frontlines

Peloni:  The Ukrainian people should be offered the opportunity to accept or reject the Russian peace offer.  They could hold a public referendum or do something even more responsible like holding the presidential elections which the tyrant Zelensky has cancelled til the war is ended, even as he is actively taking steps to prevent the war from ending.  Of course, pursuing either of these steps would presume that the people rather than the ruling tyrant should make such choices, and no self respecting despot would stoop so low as to enquire or be concerned with what the people actually want.  Given the fact that the Ukrainian people have twice elected candidates in the post Maidan period based upon their claimed support of peace, it seems unfortunate that they will not be offered the opportunity to choose peace again.

By Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew Osborn | Reuters | May 25, 2024

MOSCOW/LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to halt the war in Ukraine with a negotiated ceasefire that recognizes the current battlefield lines, four Russian sources told Reuters, saying he is prepared to fight on if Kyiv and the West do not respond.

Three of the sources, familiar with discussions in Putin’s entourage, said the veteran Russian leader had expressed frustration to a small group of advisers about what he views as Western-backed attempts to stymie negotiations and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s decision to rule out talks.

“Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire – to freeze the war,” said another of the four, a senior Russian source who has worked with Putin and has knowledge of top level conversations in the Kremlin.

He, like the others cited in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity given the matter’s sensitivity.

For this account, Reuters spoke to a total of five people who work with or have worked with Putin at a senior level in the political and business worlds. The fifth source did not comment on freezing the war at the current frontlines.

Asked about the Reuters report at a news conference in Belarus on Friday, Putin said peace talks should restart.

Let them resume,” he said, adding that negotiations should be based on “the realities on the ground” and on a plan agreed during a previous attempt to reach a deal in the first weeks of the war. “Not on the basis of what one side wants,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on X that the Russian leader was trying to derail a Ukrainian-initiated peace summit in Switzerland next month by using his entourage to send out “phony signals” about his alleged readiness to halt the war.

“Putin currently has no desire to end his aggression against Ukraine. Only the principled and united voice of the global majority can force him to choose peace over war,” said Kuleba.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, said Putin wanted Western democracies to accept defeat.

NOT “ETERNAL WAR”

The appointment last week of economist Andrei Belousov as Russia’s defence minister was seen by some Western military and political analysts as placing the Russian economy on a permanent war footing in order to win a protracted conflict.<

It followed sustained battlefield pressure and territorial advances by Russia in recent weeks.

However, the sources said that Putin, re-elected in March for a new six-year term, would rather use Russia’s current momentum to put the war behind him. They did not directly comment on the new defence minister.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in response to a request for comment, said the country did not want “eternal war.”

Based on their knowledge of conversations in the upper ranks of the Kremlin, two of the sources said Putin was of the view that gains in the war so far were enough to sell a victory to the Russian people.

Europe’s biggest ground conflict since World War Two has cost tens of thousands of lives on both sides and led to sweeping Western sanctions on Russia’s economy.

Three sources said Putin understood any dramatic new advances would require another nationwide mobilisation, which he didn’t want, with one source, who knows the Russian president, saying his popularity dipped after the first mobilisation in September 2022.

The national call up spooked part of the population in Russia, triggering hundreds of thousands of draft age men to leave the country. Polls showed Putin’s popularity falling by several points.

Peskov said Russia had no need for mobilisation and was instead recruiting volunteer contractors to the armed forces.

The prospect of a ceasefire, or even peace talks, currently seems remote.

Zelenskiy has repeatedly said peace on Putin’s terms is a non-starter. He has vowed to retake lost territory, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. He signed a decree in 2022 that formally declared any talks with Putin “impossible.”< One of the sources predicted no agreement could happen while Zelenskiy was in power, unless Russia bypassed him and struck a deal with Washington. However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Kyiv last week, told reporters he did not believe Putin was interested in serious negotiations.

SWISS TALKS

The Swiss peace summit in June is aimed at unifying international opinion on how to end the war. The talks were convened at the initiative of Zelenskiy who has said Putin should not attend. Switzerland has not invited Russia.

Moscow has said the talks are not credible without it being there. Ukraine and Switzerland want Russian allies including China to attend.< Speaking in China on May 17, Putin said Ukraine may use the Swiss talks to get a broader group of countries to back Zelenskiy’s demand for a total Russian withdrawal, which Putin said would be an imposed condition rather than a serious peace negotiation. The Swiss foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In response to questions for this story, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said any initiative for peace must respect Ukraine’s “territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders” and described Russia as the sole obstacle to peace in Ukraine. “The Kremlin has yet to demonstrate any meaningful interest in ending its war, quite the opposite,” the spokesperson said. Kyiv says Putin, whose team repeatedly denied he was planning a war before invading Ukraine in 2022, cannot be trusted to honour any deal. Both Russia and Ukraine have also said they fear the other side would use any ceasefire to re-arm. Kyiv and its Western backers are banking on a $61 billion U.S. aid package and additional European military aid to reverse what Zelenskiy described to Reuters this week as “one of the most difficult moments” of the full scale war.

As well as shortages of ammunition after U.S. delays in approving the package, Ukraine has admitted it is struggling to recruit enough troops and last month lowered the age for men who can be drafted to 25 from 27.

TERRITORY

Putin’s insistence on locking in any battlefield gains in a deal is non-negotiable, all of the sources suggested.

Putin would, however, be ready to settle for what land he has now and freeze the conflict at the current front lines, four of the sources said.

“Putin will say that we won, that NATO attacked us and we kept our sovereignty, that we have a land corridor to Crimea, which is true,” one of them said, giving their own analysis.

Freezing the conflict along current lines would leave Russia in possession of substantial chunks of four Ukrainian regions he formally incorporated into Russia in September 2022, but without full control of any of them.

Such an arrangement would fall short of the goals Moscow set for itself at the time, when it said the four of Ukraine’s regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – now belonged to it in their entirety.

Peskov said that there could be no question of handing back the four regions which were now permanently part of Russia according to its own constitution.

Another factor playing into the Kremlin chief’s view that the war should end is that the longer it drags on, the more battle-hardened veterans return to Russia, dissatisfied with post-war job and income prospects, potentially creating tensions in society, said one of the sources, who has worked with Putin.

In February, three Russian sources told Reuters the United States rejected a previous Putin suggestion of a ceasefire to freeze the war.

In the absence of a ceasefire, Putin wants to take as much territory as possible to ratchet up pressure on Ukraine while seeking to exploit unexpected opportunities to acquire more, three of the sources said.

Russian forces control around 18% of Ukraine and this month thrust into the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

Putin is counting on Russia’s large population compared to Ukraine to sustain superior manpower even without a mobilisation, bolstered by unusually generous pay packets for those who sign up.

“Russia will push further,” the source who has worked with Putin said.

Putin will slowly conquer territories until Zelenskiy comes up with an offer to stop, the person said, saying the Russian leader had expressed the view to aides that the West would not provide enough weapons, sapping Ukraine’s morale.

U.S. and European leaders have said they will stand by Ukraine until its security sovereignty is guaranteed. NATO countries and allies say they are trying to accelerate deliveries of weapons.

“Russia could end the war at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine, instead of continuing to launch brutal attacks against Ukraine’s cities, ports, and people every day,” the State Department said in response to a question about weapons supplies.

All five sources said Putin had told advisers he had no designs on NATO territory, reflecting his public comments on the matter. Two of the sources cited Russian concerns about the growing danger of escalation with the West, including nuclear escalation, over the Ukraine standoff.

The State Department said the United States had not adjusted its nuclear posture, nor seen any sign that Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.

“We continue to monitor the strategic environment and remain ready,” the spokesperson said.

May 26, 2024 | 56 Comments »

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  1. Hi, Felix. You said,

    FelixQuigley
    May 27, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    Ireland is a country of many betrayals and many failures.

    Israel becomes a displacement for those failures

    Palestine the impossible and illogical, Shario Palestine, becomes their shining light as Ireland descends into darkness

    That was a sane and sober analysys. I’m impressed! I’m wildly hoping for a miracle, that you will change your worldview away from Trotsky-mania; but we have a God of hope (Of course, you say you don’t believe in Him).

    A few years ago, Ireland had, from what I read back then, an economic renaissance. Now, from what I hear, that era is gone. Of course, the era is also gone, when the South of Ireland (the Republic) was the land of devout Roman Catholics, and the Six Counties (the North) was filled with devout Presbyterians and Protestants. That’s all gone now, and it seems both of them have adopted the red star of Marxism as their shining light.

    Scotland has gone a similar way.; and unfortunately, the US has been heading there too. Our hope is in the God of Israel; there is none other.

  2. I love Damon Runyon whose works as well as movie and musical adaptations I grew up on. I have seen and read Beckett’s waiting for Godot and liked it. A witty existentialistc classic. Can’t say as I’ve ever read Joyce. Listening to snippets of it, I found it hard to comprehend though one could say I often employ a stream of consciousness technique myself, as did my late mother, at least when conversing with me. . But they’ve all contributed mightily to world culture. That nobody can deny.

  3. Personally I think Joyce’s work is a load of esoteric crap so it would appeal to you Seb….(a fad, like Runyon’s present tense schtik). I asked my parents about “Bloom” if he could be a real person, and they, (Joyce left Ireland for ever, aged 21), and they told me that NO Jew in the Community would ever live like that. They were strongly involved with communal work and headed several charitable orgs;
    They knew everyone needy, personally, and would have heard about such a person. My beloved father was only a few years younger than Joyce

    I recall when “Bloomsday” was originated by a couple of emigrant writers . It was just before the beginning of that period of “The Celtic Tiger” and purely designed as a tourist trap.

    I knew a couple of the “conductors” of the tour, one of whom I had a serious fight with and broke his jaw. This was years before he became a “Bloomite”; It was just a paid job.

    A side vignette. My English professor “Contie” L—–, had a daughter who used to be my girlfriend. It eventually cooled off, but she vowed she’d marry me or else……. About 7-8 years later she married my first cousin, a doctor who took a job in Dominica, . Later returned to practice in England -Crouch-on -Sea She invented a popular commercial sauce that I, being then in Canada never tasted.

    Anyway, (and I think I mentioned this here years ago) the prof, by now a widower, retired to Paris. He became an associate of Samuel Beckett, and in fact books were written about him. I didn’t read them,

    (I almost forgot, he knew Joyce very well and used to booze with him and other “intelligentsia”).

    On my way through Europe on a buying trip, I visited him in Paris. We went out to a bistro and quaffed a few. He called a pretty flowerseller over , jabbered in French, and then told me “It’s all arranged” I asked, what was?? He said her husband will stay elsewhere and she’s free for the whole night.”

    I just looked at him, thinking, “a joke” then realised he was serious. I was embarrassed -and declined.-……with profuse thanks. He almost ignored me after that, disgusted with me, until I went on my way to Italy.

  4. ‘Perfect time’ to return to Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ on 120th Bloomsday
    “In our contemporary period that’s witnessing the rise of nationalism, and its sinister cousin antisemitism, Joyce’s book continues to offer sharp critiques,” said Yeshiva University professor Seamus O’Malley.
    MENACHEM WECKER
    May 23, 2024

    Cultural pilgrims flock to Dublin annually on June 16 to celebrate the inside-baseball, literary “holiday” Bloomsday, which marks the single day upon which James Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses is set.

    “Hands up how many people have read James Joyce’s entire 265,000-word masterpiece, Ulysses? Even if you’ve never picked up James Joyce’s iconic novel Ulysses, you can still enjoy Bloomsday,” advises Ireland’s tourism board, which notes that writers and cultural figures first organized the festival in 1954.

    This June 16 marks the 120th anniversary of the day upon which Ulysses is set: June 16, 1904. As the novel’s setting marks that milestone of Jewish longevity, JNS sought comment from Joyce experts about the novel’s central Jewish character and the book’s frequent treatment of Jewish identity and antisemitism.

    “Now is the perfect time to return to Ulysses and Joyce’s choice to make his protagonist Jewish,” Seamus O’Malley, an associate English professor at Yeshiva University, told JNS.

    In 1904, Dublin’s Jewish community was “tiny,” and it hadn’t grown much larger 18 years later when the novel was published, according to O’Malley.

    “But 1904-1922 could be usable dates for the movement for Irish independence, partially gained in 1922,” the professor said. “That movement had some good qualities, but its logic of ‘Ireland for the Irish’ led inevitably to antisemitism, as Jews were cast as outsiders as much as the colonizing British.”

    A person like Leopold Bloom—an advertising “canvasser” and the novel’s ostensible hero—wouldn’t have been “Irish enough” for many Irish people, “even though he was born and raised in Ireland,” O’Malley told JNS. “Joyce pushes back against this idea by making him central to his Irish epic, and casting antisemites like The Citizen as villains.”

    {James Joyce
    A sculpture of James Joyce in Dublin by Marjorie Fitzgibbon. Photo by Menachem Wecker.}

    “In our contemporary period that’s witnessing the rise of nationalism, and its sinister cousin antisemitism, Joyce’s book continues to offer sharp critiques,” O’Malley said.

    In one chapter, the Citizen berates Bloom in anti-Jewish terms in a pub. When Bloom tells the Citizen that Jesus was a Jew, the antisemite responds, “By Jesus, says he, I’ll brain that bloody jewman for using the holy name. By Jesus, I’ll crucify him so I will. Give us that biscuitbox here.” (He misses when he throws the box at Bloom.)

    Bloom is “a wandering Odysseus, an émigré citizen with Austro-Hungarian forebears and a Jewish Everyman,” notes Anne Fogarty, professor of James Joyce studies at University College Dublin, in the catalog to the Morgan Library and Museum’s 2022 exhibit “One Hundred Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses.”

    Elsewhere in the catalog, Colm Tóibín, a humanities professor at Columbia University, refers to Bloom as “a Jewish man of great independence of mind, a born noticer, whose response to life is original and sensuous and intelligent.”

    Grappling with identity

    Few details are easy to grasp in Joyce’s notoriously opaque work, about which the Irish author is said to have remarked that he ensured his immortality by packing it with so many enigmas that it would keep professors busy for centuries debating what he meant.

    It is clear that Bloom is perceived as Jewish, but one of the first things readers learn about the character is that he is a foodie on his way to purchase a decidedly unkosher pork kidney at a butcher shop called Dlugacz’s.

    “Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes,” Joyce writes when first introducing the Jewish character. “Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.”

    {James Joyce
    James Joyce’s 1922 novel “Ulysses.” Credit: Janny Chiu/Morgan Library and Museum.}

    Critics have long debated Bloom’s Jewishness, writes Cormac Ó Gráda, professor emeritus of economics at University College Dublin in the 2004 journal article “Lost in Little Jerusalem: Leopold Bloom and Irish Jewry.”

    Ó Gráda notes that Bloom doesn’t qualify “by strictly confessional criteria,” since his mother Ellen Higgins wasn’t Jewish, his father converted to marry her, and Bloom was neither circumcized nor bar mitzvah-ed. Bloom also married out of the faith and “went through the motions of conversion to Catholicism,” Ó Gráda writes, and “he flouts the Jewish dietary laws and proclaims himself an atheist.”

    “On the other hand, in support of the Jewish Bloom there is the possibility that his maternal grandmother was a Hungarian Jew,” he adds. “But surely what matters most is that Bloom is perceived as (or even mistaken for) Jewish by others.”

    “For Joyce, surely Bloom was an Irish Jew,” he writes.

    Yvonne Altman O’Connor, vice chair of the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin, told JNS that Bloom’s character “is more relevant than ever given the current modern assortment of Jewish identities, especially in the Diaspora.”

    “He felt unique as a ‘double outsider’ but perhaps if he were living today, he may feel quite ‘at home’ in a more multicultural, secular society,” she said. “One feels, however, that his heritage and interest in Judaism would still be of great importance to him.”

    {Irish Jewish MuseumThe Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. Photo by Menachem Wecker.}

    The Jew-hatred in Ulysses that is “still spawning in the world after 120 years” is “striking, and the book reveals how this is endemic and harmful,” O’Connor said. “Poor Bloom would have been long-suffering.”

    She added that the “idea” of a Jewish homeland, about which Bloom read, “has actualized through history since, and what would be his thoughts, particularly if he lived to see the aftermath of the Shoah?” O’Connor wondered whether Bloom, 120 years later, would “immerse himself in acquiring greater affiliation and faith to cope with a disenfranchised world,” or would “his reputation and history simply vanish under pressure and ignorance.”

    “Readers should have some challenge considering this question,” she said.

    Writing in the introduction to his 2022 book An Irish-Jewish Politician, Joyce’s Dublin and Ulysses: The Life and Times of Albert L. Altman, Neil Davison, professor of English at Oregon State University and author of the 1998 book James Joyce, Ulysses, and the Construction of Jewish Identity, notes that Ulysses explores Jew-hatred, assimilation and Jewish concepts and lore.

    “It is unsurprising that a century after the novel’s appearance, the number of Jewish Joyceans remains high,” he writes. “Jewish readers at large have been drawn to Ulysses from the outset—the first discussion of Bloom as an Irish-Jew was published by the Irish-Jewish Trinity scholar A.J. ‘Con’ Leventhal in 1924.”

    {Irish Jewish Museum
    A display at the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. Photo by Menachem Wecker.}

    Over the years, there has been a “rift in perceptions” about how much—if at all—to emphasize the novel’s Jewish content and themes.

    “Is Ulysses, on some essential level, a ‘Jewish novel?’ Or is it rather an ‘Irish novel’ that employs the Jewish position in a colonial setting to wedge open the intricacies of that political landscape,” Davison writes.

    “Taking the full measure of Leopold Bloom’s social and psychological profile, however, Ulysses seems finally a novel ‘about’ Irish nationalism with a focus on how an Irish-Jew functioned in that world and—by way of this—is simultaneously a sustained case study of one of the most volatile and longest-running racial fault lines of the west,” he adds.

    https://www.jns.org/perfect-time-to-return-to-joyces-ulysses-on-120th-bloomsday/

    BLOOMSDAY ON BROADWAY XXXVII

    https://www.symphonyspace.org/events/bloomsday-on-broadway-xxxvii

    My late mother who was an actress and friend of the late Isaiah
    Scheffer was among the many professional actors, many of them famous, who have participated in the annual Bloomsday celebration at Symphony Space which along with its companion theater, the Thallia, is one of the two cultural landmarks of the Upper West Side the other being Lincoln Center. It’s an annual marathon in which they take turns reading the entire work in front of a packed audience – much like, it occurs to me – reading the entire Talmud in a year in study groups. Doesn’t take a year. It’s all at once.

    https://www.symphonyspace.org/events/film-thalia-docs-art-and-heart-the-world-of-isaiah-sheffer


    Symphony Space, founded by Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller, is a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization at 2537 Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Performances take place in the 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (also called Peter Norton Symphony Space) or the 160-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia. Programs include music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. In addition, Symphony Space provides literacy programs and the Curriculum Arts Project, which integrates performing arts into social studies curricula in New York City Public Schools.

    Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held on January 9, 1978, organized by Isaiah Sheffer and Alan Miller.[1] From 1978 to 2001, the theater hosted all of the New York productions by the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players.

    As of 2010, Symphony Space hosts 600 or more events annually, including an annual free music Wall to Wall marathon; Bloomsday on Broadway (celebrating James Joyce’s Ulysses); and Selected Shorts, broadcast nationally over Public Radio International. The New York company of Revels, Inc., also holds its shows there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_Space


    My hometown.

  5. Good old Walton, he was my physics professor in Trinity College, and more students caught up on their sleep during his lectures than in any other subject.

    Old Walton, (I don’t think he was all that old, not much over 50 I’d say. Had the most soporific, toneless, droning country Irish accent….. By the way his Nobel work was not done in Ireland, but in England , either in Oxford or Cambridge, I think.
    The vast majority of those Irish achievements were made either in the US by people of Irish birth or descent, and in Britain..

    Very few in Ireland itself; also Ireland was part of Great Britain until the 1920s when it became more or less autonomous, but remained part of the British Empire until the late 1940s.

  6. Good old Walton, he was my physics professor in Trinity College, and more students caught up on their sleep during his lectures than in any other subject.

    Old Walton, (I don’t think he was all that old, not much over 50 I’d say-clean shaven rimless glasses etc). Had the most soporific, toneless, droning country Irish accent….. By the way his Nobel work was not done in Ireland, but in England , either in Oxford or Cambridge, I think.
    The vast majority of those Irish achievements were made either in the US by people of Irish birth or descent, and in Britain..

    Very few in Ireland itself; also Ireland was part of Great Britain until the 1920s when it became more or less autonomous, but remained part of the British Empire until the late 1940s.

    I believe that nearly half of the Union Army in the Civil War was Irish or 2nd generation. Several of the top Generals were NORTHERN Irelanders that is to say, British and Protestant. Sheridan and Sherman for instance.

    Many Irish emigrated due to the potato famine which devastated Ireland in the 1840s. And immigrants were still coming over during the War and many were put into uniforms right away.