Espreso. Global

What if this war drags on for years?

6 August, 2023 Sunday
17:43

Putin wants to drag out Russia's war against Ukraine until after the November 2024 US presidential election, hoping for a change in the country's policy toward Ukraine

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These are vain hopes, but without greater NATO involvement and the provision of modern weapons to Ukrainians, the Russian-Ukrainian war could really drag on. Therefore, it is necessary to change the approach to this bloody war. The new approach should be as follows: the war with Russia should end in 2023, with Ukraine's victory. This would not only shorten the duration of the war, but also reduce the inevitable loss of human life, the destruction of infrastructure, and stop the decline of the Ukrainian economy. Ukraine should get everything that shortens the time of the Russian-Ukrainian war and reduces the likelihood of World War III.

Moscow is covering up the criminal violence of the Russian Federation against Ukrainians with the threat of nuclear weapons. This is a very high-stakes game in which Putin is creating hellish risks of a sharp escalation, believing that he can intimidate Ukraine and our Western allies. The Kremlin is in a stalemate, but little is likely to change fundamentally by the end of this year unless the collective West takes decisive steps, including supplying Ukraine with more modern aircraft.

Ukraine and the future

"We should already be thinking about the fact that when the Ukrainian army expels the Moscow invaders from its territory, the suffering of Ukrainians may not be over. Ukraine cannot build its future while there is a threat that Russia will bomb it."

To avoid a Pyrrhic victory, the Russian Federation, or what may be left of it, must not be allowed to shell eastern Ukraine from its territory or send paramilitary terrorist groups to our lands to destabilize the Ukrainian state.

If Ukraine's border with Russia does not turn into the border of the European Union and NATO with the Russian Federation, Russians will be able to easily attack and retreat, as their ancestors, the Horde, did in ancient times. Not to mention the Black Sea, where Russian submarines will be able to create chaos and block Ukrainian shipping. At the same time, it is difficult to predict exactly who might come after Putin's removal from power. Even if Russia is depleted militarily, resource-wise, financially, and materially, its new leaders may still have a reserve of anger and revengeful intentions. A Russia that is not destroyed or fragmented into parts will always be a huge threat to Ukraine and to the world.

It so happens that the United States and the collective West have clearly established a rule for Ukraine that no strikes on the territory of the Russian Federation are allowed, out of fear that Moscow might attempt to transfer its war to the territory of Western countries. While Russia is firing missiles and bombing our territories on a daily basis, ordinary Russians are safe and have been living through these long months of war as if the war does not affect them at all. It is easy to observe this peculiar game of give-and-take with the Kremlin when you do not live in Ukraine and only watch the tragedy of Ukrainians on your TV screen. They say that we are in solidarity with you in everything, but we cannot intervene directly, because then it will provoke World War III.

The first casualty of the war is the truth. Russia has caught itself in Ukraine, and despite the fact that the cost of its unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is increasing with each new month of the war, Putin is unwilling to give up his idea of a fix - a new colonization of Ukraine, wanting to close the "Ukrainian issue" forever.

"Despite the fact that the Russian Federation has been "stretched by the ropes of sanctions," the Russian dictator still shows no signs of ending the war he started. He is evading, maneuvering, and hoping that by stalling for time, he will be able to bargain for acceptable terms."

And when the price of staying in Ukraine becomes too high for Putin, he always has a fallback option. All Russia will have to do is withdraw its terrorist troops from the Russian border and declare that its policy of "ridding Ukraine of Nazis has succeeded." Then it can rebuild its army, learning from the mistakes it made in 2022-2023, before starting a new war in three to five years. Obviously, if Ukraine fails to finish off its enemy, it risks a second stage of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Only then may there be no such powerful assistance from the West.

The Kremlin's nuclear blackmail

"In an attempt to take the Western world "for a ride," hoping that at the moment of the greatest confrontation in the West, they will "blink first," the Russians have again begun threatening with nuclear weapons. It seems that the Kremlin has not yet realized that if they use nuclear weapons, the response from the United States and NATO will be instantaneous."

And the fact that many Russian propagandists and experts have recently begun to intimidate the world with the possibility of using nuclear weapons does not speak to Putin's strength, but to the weakness of the Russian Federation itself, which has already begun to realize that Russia will not be able to withstand such a huge economic exhaustion from the war for long.

The arguments of these intimidations are so strikingly similar to each other that it seems that they were formed in the same think tank. This single source prepares the information that is later voiced by Karaganov, Medvedev, Solovyov, Skabeyeva, Popov, Simonyan, and dozens of other confidants serving the Putin regime. The dictator needs such high-profile "scaremongers", in particular for internal use, and they are aimed primarily at the far-right Russian nationalists who make up Putin's base. And while they cannot be completely ignored, any response must demonstrate that America, Europe, and NATO clearly distinguish between hyperbolic bluff and real threats. After all, it is still not known for certain what the state of Russia's nuclear arsenal is. We should also not forget the fact that over the past eight months, Russia has been removing guidance systems from its nuclear missiles and using them in missiles with conventional warheads to attack Ukrainian infrastructure.

One-third of the nuclear arsenal could theoretically still be usable, but there is a large maintenance backlog for the remaining two-thirds. It is worth recalling that the Soviet Union lost its bluff with the Cuban Missile Crisis, as most of Nikita Khrushchev's nuclear weapons were then in shipping crates on ships bound for Cuba. At that time, the USSR had nothing "ready". And there is a certain similarity with today's threats from Moscow.

At the moment, Putin's weakness is that after the failed coup by Yevgeny Prigozhin, his position in the eyes of the Russian establishment has been severely shaken. There is no "victory parade" or anything else planned to restore his lost image as a "cruel leader." And he is trying to compensate for this by waving the "nuclear stick." However, in order to seriously undermine Putin's power, certain steps need to be taken, up to and including direct action against Russia. It seems that the West has decided to take a slightly different path: to put pressure on Russia economically through new sanctions and painful restrictions on its financial activities, waiting for Russia to self-destruct.

Last month, at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Putin said that nuclear weapons would protect Russian security "in the broadest sense of the word," but that there was "no need" to use them at this time. It is worth recalling that after the invasion of Ukraine, Putin and senior officials, including Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, led the charge in stoking nuclear fear.

And in announcing the invasion of Ukraine on the first day of the war, Putin warned that any country that intervened in the war would face consequences "like you have never seen in your history," in a clear reference to nuclear weapons. A few days later, he put Russia's nuclear weapons on "special combat alert." Since then, Russia has suspended its participation in the New START agreement and announced that nuclear weapons will be kept in Belarus as well.

Russia wants to compensate for its failures in the war with Ukraine by intimidating Ukraine and Europe with a nuclear apocalypse. And given Putin's deep-seated belief that he is the sole guardian and defender of the state, this indicates that he now does not know what to do next. The only thing that the Russian Federation gets out of its nuclear weapons is the absence of direct NATO or US involvement in a Russian-Ukrainian war.

Putin is a psychopath who will not flinch from using any means at his disposal to win in Ukraine. The question is, will his cronies allow him to do so? There are those who are planning for a post-Putin future, and it is doubtful that they will want to start from a position that is much more disadvantageous than it is now.

"The use of weapons of mass destruction is a gamble that they are unlikely to support, as it is impossible to predict the outcome and consequences of such an adventure. It's easier to throw Putin out of his comfortable presidential seat and blame him for all the failures of the current regime."

Thanks to the incredible efforts of the people and Western assistance, Ukraine is fighting, holding on, and has a chance to emerge victorious from the war with Russia. However, there is still a long and thorny road ahead, and much remains to be done. Moreover, Moscow still hopes that China will keep Russia afloat. And if America and Europe do not act more decisively and consistently, the war could drag on.

Hopefully, by the end of 2023, Putin will be gone, eliminated by his own people or imprisoned. Now the whole world knows for sure that Russia is nothing more than a third world country. And this humiliation is becoming a real nightmare for the Russian establishment.

Putin's delusions of grandeur have turned him into a geopolitical mad dog, and mad dogs need to be destroyed, and the sooner the better.

Source

About the author. Viktor Kaspruk, journalist. 

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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