British intelligence chief says Russian soldiers have low morale and refuse to carry out orders

Ukrainian Member of Parliament Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze listens during a meeting between the Ukrainian Senate Caucus and members of the Ukrainian Parliament and Polish Parliament at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, March 30. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

A delegation of Ukrainian lawmakers visiting Washington, DC, on Wednesday said they believe Russia just uses peace talks with Ukraine as a “smokescreen” so that their forces regroup and redefine its strategy in Ukraine.

“At this particular moment, these peace negotiations are far from real negotiations,” Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, who chairs the Ukrainian parliamentary committee on Ukraine’s integration into the European Union, told a small audience. group of journalists during a round table organized by the German Marshall Fund. thinking group.

“Certainly, I think Putin is using this as a smokescreen, buying time to regroup…and sending false, lying messages to the whole world,” she said.

“We believe that these are not real peace talks at this stage,” said MK Anastasia Radina, who heads the parliamentary committee on anti-corruption policy. “We feel that what Russia is doing is trying to save face. They say they are withdrawing their troops from the kyiv region. This is not true for a simple reason. They do not withdraw. … They were expelled (out).

Radina said there was “only one way out of the war, and that is for Ukraine to win.”

Their remarks came a day after Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had decided to “significantly reduce hostilities” around kyiv and Chernihiv. US officials, including President Joe Biden, remain skeptical of the announcement.

“We’ll see,” Biden said Tuesday when asked about Russia’s claims. “I don’t see anything until I see what their actions are. We’ll see if they follow up on what they offer.

More weapons needed: The Ukrainian army is seeking foreign aid to obtain reconnaissance and attack drones, tactical radars, anti-drone electronic warfare systems and close air support aircraft, according to the latest list of needs of the Ukraine provided to Congress.

The list handed to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, which was obtained by CNN, also includes help treating injured soldiers and repairing equipment, including mobile military medical hospitals, repairing armored vehicles in neighboring countries and planes for help transport weapons.

Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday that the latest list provided to Congress this week reflected the “urgent needs” of Ukraine’s military and civilian leadership. At the top of the 17-item priority list were reconnaissance and attack drones, including “switchblade” drones, which are small so-called kamikaze or suicide drones that carry a warhead and explode on impact.

The list also included combat aircraft – specifically referring to the Su-25, a Russian-made ground-attack aircraft similar to the American-made A-10 Warthog. The Ukrainian army is also looking for artillery systems, surface-to-air missile systems, Javelin anti-tank missiles, anti-ship missiles and optical surveillance equipment.

The all-female Ukrainian delegation — men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine during the war — traveled to Washington this week primarily, they say, to ask lawmakers and government officials US administration increased military support, which they say is still well below Ukraine’s needs.

“A proper action for Ukraine at this time, for support for Ukraine at this time, would be arms,” Radina said. “Ukraine is constantly asking for weapons and not only defensive weapons, but also offensive weapons. In our situation, this distinction between defensive and offensive is frankly humiliating. In our situation, all weapons are defensive because we are defending our lands.

Radina reiterated that Ukraine needs fighter jets, “because that’s how we can really stop the bombings. … And from now on, that’s the issue on the table, and as long as it’s on the table, people will continue to suffer.

“Our ‘humanitarian aid’ is weapons,” said MP Maria Ionova. “Because to minimize these casualties and injuries, we have to defend our air. Freedom must be armed. And that’s why our main message here is please help us defend our future and the future of the democratic world.

“Neutrality is not an option for Ukraine”: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signaled that Ukraine may be willing to renounce NATO membership and commit to neutrality if the West provides Ukraine with strong security guarantees. But such a decision would have to be put to a referendum – and Klympush-Tsintsadze indicated that anything short of NATO membership should be rejected.

“Neutrality is not an option for Ukraine,” she said.

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