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“I fear the possibility of a nuclear conflict”: how far is Putin willing to go to win in Ukraine?

For months, even before Russia invaded Ukrainewe have been asking ourselves the following questions: what is thinking and planning Vladimir Putin?

Let me make a clarification ahead of time. I do not have A crystal ball in the Kremlin. I don’t have either direct line with Putin.

LOOK: Russia threatens World War III if Ukraine joins NATO

Former US President George W. Bush once said that he had looked Vladimir Putin in the eye and “felt his soul.” Look how well relations between Russia and the West turned out.

So get into the mind of the leader of the Kremlin it is quite a thankless task. But it is important to try. Perhaps now more than ever, in light of Moscow’s recent nuclear saber rattling.

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There is no doubt that the Russian president is under pressure. His so-called “special military operation” in the Ukraine has gone very badly for him.

It was supposed to last a few days. But we have been almost 8 months and the end is not in sight.

Russian troops have been forced by the Ukrainian army to retreat both in the east and in the south of the country. (EPA).

The Kremlin admits losses “significant” of troops, in recent weeks the Russian army has been losing the territory of Ukraine that it had occupied.

To increase the number of troops, President Putin last month declared a partial mobilization, something he had insisted he would not do. Meanwhile, the sanctions continue to degrade the Russian economy.

So, back to Putin’s frame of mind. doYou will be thinking that you were wrongthat his decision to invade was a fundamental mistake?

You don’t have to assume it.

“Putin’s perceptions drive the whole situation in this conflict,” said Konstantin Remchukov, owner and editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper. Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

“He’s the authoritarian leader of a nuclear power. He is the undisputed leader of this country. He has strong beliefs and perceptions that drive him crazy. He has begun to believe that this is existential from the point of view of importance. Not only for him, but for the future of Russia,” she explained.

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If this conflict is existential, how far is President Putin willing to go to win it?

In recent months, top Russian officials (including Putin himself) have dropped unsubtle hints that the Kremlin leader would be willing to use nuclear weapons in this conflict.

Despite the fact that a few weeks ago he stated that the world was on the brink of a

Despite the fact that a few weeks ago he stated that the world was on the verge of a “nuclear Armageddon”, now President Biden rules out that Putin uses atomic weapons in his war in Ukraine. (GettyImages).

“I don’t think he will,” US President Joe Biden told CNN. “But I think that it is irresponsible to talk about it“.

This week’s heavy Russian bombardment of Ukraine suggests that the Kremlin is, at the very least, determined to escalate things with Kyiv.

Also with the West?

“He is trying to avoid direct confrontation with the West, but at the same time he is prepared for it,” said veteran liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky.

“What I fear most is the possibility of a nuclear conflict. And secondly, I fear an endless war“.

But an “endless war” requires endless resources. That is something that Russia does not seem to have. The wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities is a dramatic show of force, but How long can Moscow hold her?

In September Putin was forced to decree the

In September Putin was forced to decree “partial mobilization” to increase the number of troops he has deployed in Ukraine. (Reuters).

“Could this flow of missiles continue for days, weeks, months? Many experts doubt that we have enough missilesRemchukov declared.

“Furthermore, from a military point of view, no one has said what would be the sign of the final victory (russian). What is the symbol of victory? In 1945 it was the flag over Berlin. What is the success criteria now? (A banner) over Kyiv? About Jersyhon? About Kharkiv? I do not know. Nobody knows,” she asserted.

It is not even clear that Vladimir Putin knows about it.

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In February, the Kremlin’s goal seemed to have been the swift defeat of Ukraine, forcing Russia’s neighbor back into Moscow’s orbit without a protracted war.

Did you miscalculate? Did he underestimate the determination of the Ukrainian army and people to defend their land, and apparently overestimate the capabilities of his own army?

What are you thinking now? Is Vladimir Putin’s current plan to consolidate control over the Ukrainian territory he claims to have annexed and then freeze the conflict? Or is he determined to press on until all of Ukraine is back in the Kremlin’s sphere of influence?

The recent massive bombings of Kyiv and other Ukrainian towns prove that Putin is listening to

The recent massive bombings of Kyiv and other Ukrainian towns prove that Putin is listening to “hawks” in his government who advocate tougher action against Ukraine. (GettyImages).

This week, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrote: “The Ukrainian state in its current configuration…will be a constant, direct and clear threat to Russia. I believe that the goal of our future actions must be the complete dismantling of the political regime in Ukraine“.

If Medvedev’s words reflect the thinking of President Putin, a long and bloody conflict is expected.

But inevitably, Putin’s actions abroad are having consequences at home.

For years, the Kremlin painstakingly cultivated the image of Putin as “Mr Stability”encouraging the Russian public to believe that as long as he was in charge they would be safe.

Now that’s a hard sell.

“The previous contract between Putin and the company was: ‘I protect you’Remchukov said.

“For many years, the main catchphrase was ‘predictability.’ What kind of predictability is there today? The concept is gone. nothing is predictable. My journalists don’t know if they’ll get call-up papers when they get home today,” he illustrated.

Putin's image as the guarantor of Russia's stability has been shattered, say Russian politicians interviewed by the BBC correspondent.

Putin’s image as the guarantor of Russia’s stability has been shattered, say Russian politicians interviewed by the BBC correspondent.

Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine surprised many. But not Yavlinsky.

“I believe that [Putin] had been moving in that direction: year after year it was building the way to what we have now,” Yavlinsky said.

“For example, destroying the independent media. He started doing it in 2001. The destruction of independent companies. It started in 2003. Then in 2014 and what happened with Crimea and Donbas. You would have to be blind not to see it“, he pointed.

“Russia’s problem is our system. A system was created here that created such a person [Putin]. The question of the role of the West in the creation of this system is very serious,” he said.

“The problem is that this system did not create a society. There are many very good people in Russia. But there is no civil society. That is why Russia cannot resist”, he concluded.

Source: Elcomercio

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