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Putin called on more troops and threatened nuclear options in a speech that uplifted the ante but showed Russia’s weakness.ATN News

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced some mobilization and threatened the use of “Many Russian Weapons” in Retaliation for Alleged Western Nuclear Blackmail Russian President Vladimir Putin has upped the ante again in his war with Ukraine. Indeed, Putin almost said so: “When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, We will use all means to protect Russia and our people. This is not a scam.”

The latest escalation comes after the announcement of a referendum on Russia’s currently occupied territory in Ukraine on September 20, the latest gamble by the Russian president to find a way to escape the dire situation in Ukraine.

Putin, speaking to Russians in a televised broadcast at 9 a.m. Moscow time, confirmed that some of the mobilization of troops from Putin’s 2 million-strong military reserve is to protect Russia and its territory. self He said the West did not want peace in Ukraine. He added that Washington, London and Brussels are pushing for Kyiv to “transfer military operations to our territory” with the aim of “Completely plunder our country”

Familiar strategy

Russia’s plan to annex eastern Ukraine through The “referendum” follows established guidelines. But it is a new escalation in a war that Putin has not waged for most of the past seven months.

In March 2014, Putin annexed Crimea after an urgent referendum there following Russia’s occupation of the peninsula. and in February 2022, before he sent the Russian army to Ukraine. He realized the independence of the so-called People’s Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk, deploying “peace forces” on these territories occupied by Russia and by local proxies since 2014, Puti. used the land as a firing base for an illegal war with Ukraine just two days later.

as a result of this invasion Russia occupies about 20% of Ukraine, mostly in the east. in the past few weeks Moscow has lost some of these areas again. but still controls an area of ​​about 90,000 square kilometers Most of them are in the Donbas area and southeastern Ukraine. The de facto agency that installed the Kremlin. Covering most of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhrya and Kherson, it now “asks” Moscow to hold a referendum on the accession of the Russian Federation.

A referendum is likely to be held from September 23-27, and the Russian parliament is expected to quickly ratify any annexation decision. Putin signed the agreement, effective shortly after. A similar process took place in the Crimea in 2014.

a different upgrade

In 2014, Ukraine was not much in the fight against Crimea. And counter-terrorism operations quickly ended as Russia poured troops and resources into the Donbas to support local proxies there. After eight months of intense fighting The result was the final sector of the ill-fated Minsk Peace Agreement of February 2015, which triggered a seven-year tentative ceasefire embedded in an incomplete negotiation process that failed to make. settlement

Right now, there is no possibility that Kyiv and its Western allies will agree to a similar agreement. which just bought Moscow time to regroup and plan the next move. Many Ukrainian and Western leaders have already said a lot. including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schalz.

But this is unlikely to stop Russia, and Putin wants an “excuse” that doesn’t escalate too much in Ukraine. but in Russia The merger of Ukrainian territory with Russia will change the Ukrainian military action to free these areas from Russian occupation from Russian view as Russian aggression.

This would give Putin an excuse to call for mobilization. and may even declare martial law in Russia Approval by the lower house of Russia for harsher penalties for offenses Actions taken during military mobilization or martial law point in an ominous direction in this context.

The announcement of the referendum and all that they implied also poses a direct challenge to Western countries. Brave policymakers in NATO and the European Union to take action in support of Ukraine, now Russia’s aggressor. This greatly increases the risk of direct confrontation between Russia and the West. And once again made Russia turn to nuclear weapons.

This is what was raised in July when Ukraine began to make progress in retaliation in the south. But it appears to be another insignificant red line of Russia.

China factor

Putin meets with President Xi China’s Jinping on Sept. 15 at the edge of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s annual summit in Samarkand. Uzbekistan, Xi previously visited Kazakhstan. and clearly show support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country This is a clear sign that Putin will stay away from Central Asia. and anticipating Putin’s later infamous ascent. Having to admit that China is concerned about Russia’s “special military operations” in Ukraine

Distance: After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged China’s ‘concerns’ about the war in Ukraine.
EPA-EFE/Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik/Kremlin pool

The absence of a similar message in Ukraine China still clearly avoids speaking out against Russian aggression. It might give the impression in Moscow that Beijing’s desire for stability, which Xi expressed in Samarkand, was essentially about ending the war quickly, not necessarily the path there.

The idea that China is pushing Russia is not only out of Central Asia. but in fact against a more aggressive stance on its western borders. It’s another thing the Kremlin misunderstands about China. But it is very dangerous. Considering the enforcement of the Russian playbook against “Unfinished business” in the pro-Russian Transnistria region in Moldova and the fact that Russia also recognized in 2008 as independent of the two Abkhazia regions of Georgia. and South Ossetia

Read more: Ukraine war: Putin’s failure will pave the way for China to take the lead in Eurasia

In his latest message to South Ossetian leader Alan Galoyev, Putin stressed that “alliance and integration” was the principle of their relationship. and the determination of Russia to create South Ossetia’s “national security”

Putin’s last stand?

The question that arises from all of this is How far will Putin go and will it go? He has played most of his cards and hasn’t won. The anti-Western energy blackmail does not undermine the NATO coalition and EU members and their allies.

Putin supporters are few and far between. And they are questionable companies such as Iran, Syria, North Korea and Myanmar. China may buy Russian oil and gas, but Xi has yet to openly side with Putin in Ukraine. and is unlikely to do so. Especially if further escalation is the result of planned referendums in occupied areas.

above all Putin did not win in Ukraine. His latest desperate attempt to raise the stakes is the most obvious sign of this. But it also indicates that a catastrophic situation may have been harmed.

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