While at first glance this might seem like a mistake or a false headline, that’s how we have to assume Vladimir Putin wants to view the situation at the moment. Clearly interested in making everyone forget what happened in 2014 — the illegal annexation of Crimea — and the new violations of international law caused by the military invasion he ordered on February 24, what he now wants is to bring the The counter resets to zero to impose another story. Seeing Russia as a victim of foreign attack, and thus of the West as a whole, forces it to make a decision to use force to defend its vital interests.
This is why his decision to annex four Ukrainian regions – Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Lugansk – must be understood, even though realities on the ground suggest that he does not have complete control over any of them . The decision helped his mobilization on the one hand, allowing him to hire conscripts on the front lines, bypassing legal restrictions that prevent them from being deployed abroad for combat work. Since these areas are formally Russian territory, Putin can now hire soldiers with little or no training and be condemned straight to slaughter in an increasingly unsuccessful attempt to reverse a situation that is openly against him .
Moreover, the same annexation—derived from so-called popular consultations in which no one believed the minimum requirements to give them validity had been met—propelled him a major leap forward in imperial claims. Given that when the USSR collapsed, Ukrainians were not asked which country they wanted to belong to – forgetting that all regions, including Crimea (54%), voted heavily for independence (over 80%) – today he Present yourself as someone responsible for restoring historical injustice. According to his own playbook, this subterfuge led him to justify the need to use all means at his disposal to preserve the integrity of the Russian Federation and the interests of Russian citizens. Since the four regions mentioned are Russian territory and Russians live there, Ukraine will attack Russia. In this way, it is logically normal that Moscow is now calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn Ukraine for daring to violate its territory.
While waiting for this crap to still happen, Russia is showing increasing desperation, which is not a good sign. On the battlefield, it was clear that the Ukrainian advance on the Kherson front and the front affecting Donetsk and even Luhansk continued to intensify, while Russian forces were on the verge of collapse at various points. This is not a retreat, nor is it an outright failure; but it is a clear composite result of horrific planning and execution at the strategic and tactical levels by the Russian Armed Forces, most recently with fearful Western backing and the US at the helm. And mobilization only adds cannon fodder, while the best Russian troops deployed so far have been unsuccessful in imposing their orders.
In this case, it is foreseeable that the war will continue indefinitely, as Volodymyr Zelensky tries to realize his impossible dream – the complete expulsion of Russian troops from Ukrainian soil – while Putin is adjusting his remaining cards to avoid the frustration of losing it. It may be unbearable for him and the regime he leads. Today, as yesterday, Zelensky’s choice depends on the extent to which those who support him economically and militarily want to remain involved. No matter how high the morale of its people and soldiers, no matter how well they assimilate what they have learned to deal with increasingly complex material, Russia’s brute superiority will eventually be imposed without Western support.
Putin’s options are wider and scarier. It could choose to push its position as a supplier of hydrocarbons to extremes, counting on European countries with few short-term alternatives, and calculating that a full production cut could ultimately undermine the unity of countries allied with Kyiv. It could also commit more military power in the case of Ukraine, mobilizing troops that now guard borders with other countries (at the risk of losing that guard) and using means that are still in reserve (such as T-14 Armata main battle tanks or advanced Su-57 aircraft). ; despite growing doubts about its true combat capabilities). Of course, it could end up crossing the nuclear threshold, taking us into a scenario completely unknown to humanity, and hoping the West doesn’t respond to the first strike lest it trigger a suicidal escalation that would lead to Zelensky’s capitulation.
In any case, it is clear that none of them guarantee a favorable outcome. For this reason, it should not be ruled out that he, with the support of patriarch Kirill, also spends most of his time begging the gods of rain and storm to unleash their power on the Ukrainian stage with the aim of preventing the Here their enemy advances, buying time before having to face his defeat.
Pictured: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.