UKRAINE: Moscow’s Anticipated Capture of Mariupol Likely to Halt Peace Talks

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Summary: The Russia-Ukraine conflict places Mariupol on the verge of total Russian control. The capture of Mariupol likely poses a threat to Ukrainian combatants within the city. If Russian forces kill Ukrainian combatants, all negotiation talks between both nations will likely halt.

Development: On 16 April, Moscow issued a “surrender or die” ultimatum to Ukrainian forces holding out within the city of Mariupol. Currently, many Ukrainian soldiers remain in siege against Moscow troops fighting from within a steel factory. Mariupol, a city largely in ruins from the ongoing conflict, lies on the coast of the Sea of Azov. Mariupol acts as a critical city to the Ukrainian economy in international trade moving through the Black Sea and in factory good production. Despite Russian forces seeking to capture the capital city of Kyiv, difficulty in capturing the city due to civilian and military resistance caused Moscow strategy to shift eastwards in strategic offensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Moscow that discussions of peace would end if Russian forces killed the remaining Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol. 

Analysis: Mariupol probably will fall to Moscow forces within the coming week and peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow will likely halt, due to the possible deaths of the remaining Ukrainian forces defending the city. Should Moscow gain full control of the city, Ukraine’s economy would likely take a devastating hit. Moscow will have also gained a strategic victory, as Mariupol provides land access connecting the Donbas Region to Crimea likely allowing it to move westward with confidence.

[Dyanna Henriquez] 

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