Russia announces second
Doug Marks, Before the Times - Sandpoint, Idaho
Published: April 30, 2022
Event Predicted: May 31, 2022
Russia announces second withdrawal from ukraine - may 31, 2022
In a move that acknowledges the huge losses the Russian military has suffered since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced today that Russia intends to withdraw all military forces from Ukraine’s eastern frontiers. He said Russia had achieved the goals of its so-called special military operation and wished to focus now on the well-being of those Russian speakers living within the Donbas and in Crimea.
The announcement came shortly after the conclusion of meetings between Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Mr. Putin appeared subdued and pale. And while the world had been anticipating a significant change in the Russians’ approach to the war, the announcement surprised everyone.
In a follow-up press release, the Kremlin announced further details of the withdrawal. According to the release, all military personnel and equipment will be withdrawn to the lines of control that existed before Russia’s invasion began on February 24. Those lines would leave Crimea and the Donbas regions in Russian control.
World leaders reacted with optimism but with a great deal of caution. United States President Joe Biden told reporters, “We will believe what we actually see from the Russians,” he said. “If they are really withdrawing, it will be a great day for the Ukrainian people.” Pushed by reporters about what intelligence agencies are reporting, the president replied, “We haven’t seen evidence of any withdrawal yet, although we have certainly noticed a reduction in the Russians’ attempts to advance within Ukraine. Slava Ukraini!”
Sources within the Kremlin have speculated that the withdrawal is a direct result of Mr. Putin’s failing health. He underwent a medical procedure for his reported abdominal cancer on May 12, and his health has been visibly declining since then. It had been rumored within the Kremlin that certain highly-placed officials had indicated a need for a draw-back, since Russian forces have been hammered in the last two weeks by increasingly successful counter-attacks executed by Ukraine’s military and supported by western military equipment and intelligence. And Putin’s ill health may have allowed those rumors to be amplified and reflected among top officials.
Reacting to the reports of the withdrawal, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “We welcome the reports, but this war did not begin on February 24, and it will not end until we have recovered all our territory, including the Donbas and Crimea. We congratulate our brothers and sisters who have worked so hard for this day and sincerely urge the Russian occupiers to go all the way home.”
Reaction elsewhere was more jubilant. Crowds across the world spontaneously gathered to express their joy in the withdrawal.
Even in Russia, where demonstrations against the war have been brutally suppressed, citizens were allowed to come into the streets to manifest their support for the withdrawal. Viewers witnessed hundreds of thousands of jubilant individuals marching through the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities across Russia.
It remains to be seen whether the war will be pursued by Ukraine. Certainly, there will be significant pressure on Ukraine to cease the fighting, now that the February 24 borders will be restored. Many leaders have expressed their belief that the world has narrowly avoided a nuclear holocaust, given the public threats made on government-run Russian media, and they will be anxious to seize any attempt to end the bloodshed. Ending the conflict now, some believe, will avoid making Russian leaders feel threatened to the extent they could resort to the use of nuclear weapons.