Опубліковано: 2022-03-25 in International
The month of Russia’s war against Ukraine demonstrated not only the inability of “russhists” troops to achieve significant success on Ukrainian territory. These four weeks have demonstrated the unprecedented cynicism of the Russian leadership, which is challenging the world community.
Russia’s anticipation of a lightning victory over Ukraine demonstrates not only the limited resources of the invading forces. The propaganda used by the “russhists” is aimed exclusively at Russian audiences, and it seems that the powerful brainwashing machine is not even trying to work with Western audiences, including Putin’s steers. Instead, the world learned about terrible things: the deaths of more than 100 children in Ukraine at the hands of invaders (this horrible figure is constantly growing), the barbaric siege of Mariupol, the shooting of civilians in temporarily occupied by RF settlements.
I would like to emphasize that Russia is consistently destroying Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure in order to inflict the greatest damage on it and increase its recovery time after the end of hostilities. This indirectly confirms the failure of putin’s plans for a blitzkrieg in Ukraine. That is why Russia is trying to destroy the economic potential of our state as much as possible, responding asymmetrically and cynically to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the civilized world. This only confirms the thesis that Ukraine’s success is a personal threat to putin.
I would like to note another important point: since December 2021 the Kremlin has consistently relied on escalating tensions in international relations. Initially, Moscow demanded “security guarantees”, but a month of war in Ukraine is forcing the Russian leadership to change tactics, but not strategy. The lack of success in Ukraine may prompt the Kremlin to launch hybrid warfare mechanisms in other European countries. This is evidenced, in particular, by Lavrov’s statements about the “legitimate goal” for the Russian army, which may hunt down the military cargo for Ukraine. It is well known that the head of Russian diplomacy promised not to allow the supply of new air defense equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but his plans are unlikely to be realized.
The decision of the Polish authorities to expel 45 Russian diplomats for actions incompatible with diplomatic status was a logical continuation of the Cold War in relations between Warsaw and Moscow. Poland does not hide its readiness to help Ukraine not only by accepting more than a million of our citizens who have gone beyond the horrors of war. In response, Russia is trying to stir up unrest in Polish society, rightly considering Poland one of the key elements of the modern system of European security that contacts with the United States in the field of security. Joseph Biden is expected in Warsaw on March 25, so the intensity of hysteria on the part of Russia reaches its peak.
Poland shares a border with Russia, as do the Baltic states. The military-strategic significance of the Suwalki Corridor was discussed in 2017, during the Russian-Belarusian exercise “West-2017”. Today, the probability of a Russian blitzkrieg against Poland seems meager (a month of fighting in Ukraine has said a lot about the capabilities of the Russian army), but the current modern war conducts not for territory, but for the mood. And in this matter, Russia is showing a sinister consistency, trying to put pressure on its opponents as much as possible. The Baltic states, which are consistent in supporting Ukraine, are also the targets of aggressive actions by Russia, especially taking into account their measures to neutralize Russian propaganda on their own territory. However, it will be recalled that the offensive potential of Russian troops today differs significantly from the estimates given to it by Western analysts a month ago.
However, Russia’s military presence persists in a number of European countries, where the Kremlin will try to use its own capabilities. In particular, we are talking about unrecognized Transnistria, which was recognized by the extraordinary session of the PACE as “Russian-occupied”. Let me remind you that a neutral Moldova, which did not support the EU sanctions against Russia, does not have a strong army, and authorities in Tiraspol (read – the Russian leadership) can use the PACE decision as a pretext for war. So far, Russian special services are intensively conducting informational and psychological operations in Moldova, using the factor of Ukrainian refugees. I would like to note that Georgia, which also did not support the EU sanctions, cannot feel at ease: it was threatened with rocket fire from Russia due to the refusal of the Georgian authorities to allow the Russian inspection to the Lugar laboratory in Tbilisi. Let me remind you that 20% of Georgia’s territory was occupied by Russia in 2008.
It would be a mistake to assume that Russia is looking for opportunities to destabilize only in its border states. Putin’s geopolitical megalomania needs to be expanded, and the Republika Srpska of Bosnia and Herzegovina could be the next. Its leader, Milorad Dodik, has paid a lot of homage to the Kremlin, and if you remember that it is in Bosnia and Herzegovina that Srebrenica is located, which Putin likes to mention, snatching the geographical name from the historical context. Objectively, the Balkans remain a region where it is easier to ignite a new conflict than in other parts of the continent.
Putin’s logic as a whole is clear: as the conflict escalates, he continues to be a “world madman”, forcing world to negotiate with him. This time, his signals are not directed at Brussels, Paris and Berlin, but at Washington. And that is where the answers are expected in Moscow.
However, this does not mean that people in Kyiv should sit idly by. I am convinced that the awareness of the protracted nature of the war and the actions of the Russian invaders must change Ukraine’s tactics: we must emphasize Russia’s terrorist actions in Ukraine, which not only violate the laws of war but also threaten other European countries. Today, this message looks the most realistic to draw attention to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Eugene Magda, director of Institute of World Policy
Illustration: Christina Animashaun/Vox