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All right, Alexander, let's talk about the reports, specifically from The New York Times, but from various other collective West media outlets, that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using back channel diplomacy in order to try and get a cease-fire or a freeze to the conflict in Ukraine. Basically, Putin is is boasting about Russia's trajectory towards victory and how Russia is going to look after its interests and is not interested at this moment in dealing with the collective West or negotiating with the collective West, seeing that it's winning this conflict. But behind closed doors, Putin is actually very keen on getting a freeze or ceasefire to this war in Ukraine, especially given that he has an election in March 2024 and he wants to try and wrap this whole Ukraine conflict up before the election in 2024. Sounds like a lot of projection to me, to be quite honest. But anyway, what are your thoughts with all of these articles, specifically the one from The New York Times, I think, caught a lot.


Of people's attention. It is The New York Times article that has triggered this. By the way—and this is the one point where I do agree with some of the commentaries. I think this New York Times article was carefully inserted and published. We're talking about the publication of this article, the way this article gets published in the moment. It was published because a Russian aircraft, which belongs to, I think, either the foreign ministry or the Kremlin or something like that, was there with the Russian government or went to DC and was there for 54 hours. We don't really know what it was doing there. But of course, this article then appears at exactly the time when this aircraft is there. Of course, the US government would know that this aircraft was on its way because the Russians need to get permission before they can send an aircraft like this. Most likely, as I said, this aircraft was carrying out various logistical duties for the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, DC, and perhaps one in New York. It seems that thing happens regularly, but you can spread stories that there's some secret negotiation going on, a team of high-level people have been sent to Washington, that they're speaking with the State Department there.


Which people? Of course, nobody says. Why they would come to Washington in that way? Negotiations aren't arranged in this fashion. Can I say this straight away? We both come from a diplomatic family. I've been involved with people who were in diplomacy, went to great powers, want to conduct quiet diplomacy with each other. They don't do it in this fashion. They meet in some third country, as happened with Burns and Norishkin last year when they met in Ankara. There's usual feelers and things of that kind, but we don't get a whole big aircraft coming to Washington in that way. You then publish this article at the same time as this aircraft is underway. Then you go and read this article. There's a few things that immediately stand out. The first is that it's clearly an article that has been prompted by someone from the US government. If you take a step back and think about it, if you're the editor of the New York Times, you're not going to suddenly, out of nowhere, ask a group of your reporters to go out and investigate whether Putin is making secret feelers to the West because you've got no reason to think that.


What has happened is that the US government has contacted The New York Times. They've roped in to Russians who we're told are not serving Russian officials but have had links with the Kremlin in the past or have links with the Kremlin. We've no idea who these people are. You get all the usual international diplomats to join in, presumably most of them British, and you spin a story. When you look at the story, it is unbelievably vague. It is completely contradictory. We hear about these back channel contacts between the Russians and the Americans to try and agree, the Russians wanting to agree a cease-fire. We've had comments now from Russian officials, all of them saying this is not true. We've had this article itself telling us that when they contacted Peskov himself, Putin's spokesman, and they put all this to him, this is the New York Times, he said, This isn't true. None of this is happening. Our President has said already, we are going to proceed until all the objectives, we're going to continue to all the objectives set out at the start of the special military operation are achieved. But what this article does is it again floats this idea of the cease-fire, the freezing of the conflict along the current front lines, the armistice, if you like, in advance of elections.


Of course, it's not the Russian elections in March, it's the American elections in November that are the concern. Can I just say there's been a very interesting interview that Serge Lavrov gave to Dimitri Tenin and others a couple of days ago, which I think explains and provides the explanation for all that's going on. Lavrov didn't talk about this particular incident, this particular episode because he hadn't yet arisen. But he said that back in April, he was in New York. He invited Richard Haas and five others to meet with him. They had a discussion about events in Ukraine, which is absolutely normal. He went back to Moscow and then he discovered, and the Russians discovered, and we've covered this extensively over the last couple of months, the Russians discovered that a back channel between the US government and themselves supposedly had been set up via Richard Haas and these people who Lavrov met in New York. Lavrov said, This is simply not true. We never had any serious discussions with any of these people. But we have to assess this as the Americans trying to exert pressure on Ukraine. What they're trying to do is that they're trying to push the Ukrainians into starting negotiations with us about freezes of the conflict because they want to freeze of the conflict, but they don't want to negotiate directly with us, but they want to scare the Ukrainians into doing this by giving the Ukrainians to think that if the Ukrainians don't initiate these negotiations right away, then the Americans will step in and do it in their place.


This is a way of putting pressure on Zelensky. I think Lavrov has got it absolutely right.


Yeah, I agree. I read that article and I was like, Okay, this is a whole lot of wishful thinking projection because it's actually the Biden White House that wants to freeze. That's obvious. They're desperate for a freeze or some cease-fire or a pause as they enter the elections in 2024, but they're throwing it all on the Russians. They're projecting everything onto Putin and the Russians. But the claim that a lot of this is meant to scare the Alensky regime into calling up Russia and engaging in negotiations is actually confirmed by the statement from Ukraine that they made the other day, which is that The New York Times is employing Russian propagandists who wrote this article, which shows you that Ukraine may be on to this game that the State Department is playing. It seems like they've realized what the State Department is trying to do. Now they're coming back and they're saying, The New York Times, they're carrying water for the Kremlin now by saying that Putin wants to cease fire and he wants to freeze the conflict. They're writing about this in collective West media and then this is Russian propaganda. As Ukraine, we're going to fight on and we're not going to give an inch of territory and our goal is to take this all the way to.


They come back and then they say the same statements that they always say, but it seems like they've caught on to what the State Department is trying to do.


Exactly. I think if you think about it, it's absolutely obvious. You have this Russian aircraft in Washington, D. C. As I said, I'm sure that's a routine flight. You published this article and the two together intended to scare people in Kiev. Behind the Ukrainian blaster, and I think you're right, I think the Ukrainians have seen through it, but it's highly likely that there will have been some anxious calls from Kiev to Washington. What exactly is it going on? Is there really a big Russian delegation in DC at the moment? Who is speaking with them? All of this thing. This is what this is all about. I think the other thing to say, and here we are exceptionally privileged, if I could say so, as a news channel, is that we've had two people who are regular guests on The Durand who've just been to Moscow, Alistair Krook and Larry Johnson. They've just been to Moscow and they've had a number of meetings there with senior Russian officials, including one who we are not going to name, but we know who it is. Can I just say? This is somebody who if negotiations really were taking place would certainly know about them.


In fact, Larry Johnson has just made that very point in a piece that he's written on Sonar 21. Anyway, you could see the programs that we've done subsequent to that visit to Moscow by both Alistair Krook and by Larry Johnson. You can also see what each of those people have written. They say they've had meetings with the Russians, including with this particular Russian official. The Russians have said they have no contacts, no substantive talk contacts with the Americans whatsoever. They find it impossible to conduct discussions. In fact, they're concerned about the fact that even on simple things like, well, not simple things, important things like arms control, never mind Ukraine, the Americans don't want to talk with them. That for the Americans to talk with the Russians, the American seed is toxic now. Now, given that this is so, this is in such complete contradiction to what this New York Times article is spinning that it makes no sense. We know that is what those Russian officials were telling Alistair Krook and Larry Johnson. I don't believe those Russian officials were making it up. They were actual Russian officials, not the fictional ones who are not even Russian officials that we see in this New York Times article.


Just a final thought. Lover of the Russians, they figured this out. They know what game is being played. It looks like Ukraine has figured this out. They know what's being played, what game is being played with all this Putin ceasefire talk.


You know who it seems hasn't figured this out and is in a panic? Are the EU-leaders and the leaders and the leaders of the UK… It seems like they've been kept out of the loop of this little State Department sign-up that they're trying to put together in order to pressure Ukraine into negotiation because over the past couple of days, we've seen crazy panic statements from EU officials, from Burrel, from the UK Defense Secretary Grant Shaps. There's not enough money. We need to do everything we can to keep this war going. We have to give Ukraine everything. Burrel is like, we have to make sure that Ukraine gets everything they need. You can see that they're in a bit of a panic. I think this New York Times article really did fool them.


They were just.


Freaked about believing that Putin, that there's going to be some ceasefire being cooked up and they're not even in the know. They've been left out. I think they've bought into this narrative.


Oh, I think you're absolutely right. But bear in mind that for them, what we've discussed in various programs before, the thing that scares them most even more than a total defeat of Ukraine is the Americans and the Russians reaching an understanding with each other over their heads. That really would have them in a terrible place. This article plays to precisely that fear. I don't know whether the the blink and crowd understand this, but it's almost exactly the article that is going to have the Europeans in the greatest possible panic, which is one reason, by the way, that I'm absolutely sure that the Americans would not have shared this with the Europeans in advance, because of course, had the Europeans seen anything like this, even as a SIO, they would have been absolutely panic-stricken themselves, and they would have said, Pleased, under no circumstances do this.


Yeah. The EU really has been weak in the last through all of this.


Well, indeed. Well, indeed. I mean, speaking of another guest at the Durand, Claire Daley did a tremendous speech about Ursula von der Leyn, the unelected person who has led Europe into this hole. Where she speaks, others will follow. There'll be an awful lot of people who are in the Parliament chamber who will be perhaps very angry with Claire Daley for saying things like that, but who secretly also understand that she's making a valid point.


Yeah, very powerful speech from Claire Daly. All right, we will end it there, theduran. Locals. Com. We are on Odysee, Rumble, Bitchuth, Telegram, Rockfin, and Twitter X, and go to theduran. Shop20% off. Use the code Christmas20. Take care.