Espreso. Global

Putin is furious with ATACMS. Column by Vitaly Portnikov

19 October, 2023 Thursday

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the additional threat that has emerged after the Ukrainian Defense Forces received ATACMS missiles

The very first use of these missiles on Russian-occupied Ukrainian cities demonstrated their capabilities. Russia has suffered significant losses in manpower and equipment, and it is obvious that further use of these missiles could also reduce Russia's resources and its intentions for further actions on the Russian-Ukrainian front.

Putin, of course, in his usual manner, tries to make everything look like a joke and ridicule Western elites. He said that if U.S. President Joe Biden believes that Russia has already lost the war, why is he supplying ATACMS missiles? Let him take these missiles and other types of weapons and come to us for tea, the Russian president said sarcastically.

However, behind this sarcasm of the Russian leader was obvious irritation.

“The important thing is that, in Putin's opinion, the supply of ATACMS missiles will not change the situation on the line of contact between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian troops. In other words, it is not that Putin is planning to launch offensive operations to occupy new territories of Ukraine in the near future; it is that even supplying Ukraine with modern weapons will not allow the Ukrainian Armed Forces to recapture the territories that are currently under Moscow's control.”

But it is worth recalling that Russia itself had other plans for the war in Ukraine. Back in February last year, Putin was going to occupy a large part of Ukraine, change the government in Kyiv, annex at least 2/3 of Ukrainian territory to Russia, and create a puppet government on the remaining Ukrainian territory that would work to make Ukraine part of a so-called union state with Russia and another puppet state, Belarus of Alexander Lukashenko.

And now, as it turns out, Putin's plans look quite different. He wants his armed forces to stay on this line of contact, where they are still defending their positions on the occupied Ukrainian lands. It can be said that the ambitions of the Russian president are diminishing precisely along with the modern weapons Ukraine receives from its Western allies. And this once again confirms the correctness of the view that if Ukraine had received as much modern weapons as possible from the first months of this war, we might have been able to liberate much more Ukrainian territory from Russian invaders. To liberate the Ukrainian citizens who are waiting for Ukrainian troops in Donbas, southern Ukraine, and Crimea and hope that the Russian occupiers and their miserable mercenaries will be expelled from Ukrainian territory.

And now, of course, we are seeing a difficult struggle on the contact line and are once again convinced that modern weapons significantly reduce the ability of the Russian armed forces to defend their positions on this territory.

Well, what has always been known, and we are now convinced of it, is that in order for Putin's ambitions and those of Russia's political and military leadership to diminish with each passing month and even day, it is important to destroy Russian military facilities and their manpower, and it is important to reduce both Russian arsenals and the number of those who are ready to fight in the Russian armed forces.

“However, for this to become a reality, for Russia to lose its potential, it is not enough to strike with modern Western weapons exclusively at military facilities in the occupied Ukrainian territories. The main military potential of the Russian Federation is on the territory of Russia. The main stockpiles of Russian weapons are there, and Russian troops may be stationed there, replacing those who are fighting on the Ukrainian front today. The Russian military-industrial complex is located there, producing new missiles and new shells so that the Russian army can continue its aggressive war against Ukraine.”

Thus, it is hardly realistic to destroy Russia's military potential with the help of drones alone, especially when it comes to the vast territory of Russia and the ability of military-industrial complex enterprises to operate beyond the Urals.

But the missile strikes on Russian military capabilities and missile strikes on Russian military units immediately demonstrated to Moscow that it should not have additional ambitions. That it should think about how to end the war with Ukraine, how to remove its troops from Ukrainian land, how to solve the legal problems that arose for Russia itself after the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine appeared in the Russian Constitution at the request of Vladimir Putin.

We are well aware that Russia does not believe in any political processes or negotiations. The entire history of this country is all about respect for force and disrespect for law.

Thus, in addition to supplying Ukraine with modern weapons, the allies will sooner or later have to take another important step - to agree that the destruction of the military potential of the Russian Federation by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the sovereign territory of the most aggressive terrorist state is not a path to escalation, but a path to ending the war. Moreover, Putin, with all his invitations to "drink tea" and messages that if the Ukrainian leadership wants to negotiate, it must reverse the decision to not talk to Vladimir Putin, demonstrates that he is beginning to think about a political solution to the crisis he has created. We just need to encourage Putin to realize that he should end the war. However, he needs to be encouraged not by persuasion or secret conversations, but by effective missile strikes on Russian military facilities and criminal decision-making centers.


About the author. Vitaly Portnikov, journalist, laureate of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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