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If Putin freezes the war, he will likely win

Freezing the war in Ukraine is a bad scenario – in which case Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will likely win. But Putin also faces the challenge of holding on to power in his own country, or else China will stop supporting him as a weak partner. This was commented by Andrew Michta, international security expert and director of the College of International Security Studies at the George Marshall Center, in an interview with Channel 24. According to Mikhta, Putin is terrorizing the Ukrainian people with constant attacks on civilian objects and infrastructure so that Ukraine cannot function as a state. There is no other option left for Putin as he cannot defeat the Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.

But by attacking Ukraine’s infrastructure, Russia itself pushed the West to step up its military support for Kyiv. The US is the main supplier of weapons and has started to provide more long-range weapons after the Russians changed their tactics. Other countries also provide significant assistance – Canada, Great Britain, Poland and even the Baltic countries, despite the small size of their military arsenals, the expert notes.

“There have been some problems with key European players, but we have to remember that this is not just a matter of political will. The question is also to what extent, after the Cold War, European countries reduced their stockpiles of weapons and ammunition as part of disarmament. At the end of At the end of the Cold War, it was thought that all this was no longer necessary. Part of the delay in aid was because of their reluctance to escalate further. But it was Putin who was responsible for the escalation,” says Andrew Michta.

With its resistance, Ukraine held back the Russian attack on Europe

The expert said that he understands the pain of the Ukrainians – Kyiv requested air defense systems back in February-March to protect its skies, and it started receiving them only now, and many civilians died in the meantime. “It is difficult to understand all the political nuances of this issue, but in democratic societies it is necessary to go through the approval procedure: from the parliament to the executive,” he explains the delay. And he adds: “Some European politicians understood this faster and reacted accordingly, others more slowly. Democracies need time to adjust.”

What Ukraine is doing now, managing to resist Russian aggression, is truly incredible, he emphasizes. There were fears that Russia and China were preparing two theaters of hostilities against the West – one in Eastern Europe, the other in the Indo-Pacific region, but Ukraine neutralized this threat with its resistance. “You are actually holding back the Russian attack on Europe,” Mikhta remarked to the Ukrainian journalist. If Russia loses this war, it will finally rid it of its imperial ambitions in Europe, which it has consistently pursued since the 17th century.

Russia is a dangerous neighbor

And this applies to the entire eastern flank of the EU. The Baltic states, Poland and Romania understood the Russian threat very well in the last 20 years. With Putin coming to power, the Russian Federation began to push the imperialist narrative that the West frowned upon Russia and it needed to reclaim its place under the sun.

“This is very similar to what happened in Germany when Hitler came to power. Then the Germans insisted that they did not lose the First World War, but were betrayed. Putin is now actively spreading such theses,” says the expert.

If Russian forces are not defeated in Ukraine to such an extent that this is finally realized by Russian society, Russia will continue to threaten Ukraine and Europe. Putin will rearm, build up additional strength, and press again. There are different estimates of how long this will take, but it will inevitably happen again, the expert believes.

Ukraine cannot get out of the war without the Black Sea and Donbas – its economy depends on it

Ukraine should return its territories in their entirety and remain a Black Sea state, the expert believes. If Ukraine remains landlocked on the Black Sea, it will have no chance of being a prosperous country because it will not be able to trade. The same applies to the entire Russian-ravaged Donbas, where its industrial base is concentrated.

If the conflict is frozen, the recovery of Ukraine will be impossible. In this case, Russia will be a constant threat. Ukraine has lived with this threat for years after Russia seized Crimea and territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Mihta says. In this case, it is very difficult to reform the state.

Putin does not understand that his future depends on China

Putin made many mistakes. He got bogged down in his “special military operation”, started mobilization and most importantly – underestimated the Ukrainians and overestimated his own armed forces. Partly because he was lied to and partly because the reform of the Russian army took place in a very limited area. In fact, the Russian army largely remains Soviet, and opposes a reformed NATO-style army – that of Ukraine.

Putin does not understand that Russia is becoming China’s junior partner and, more precisely, its vassal. The Russian president is trying to circumvent Western sanctions through China, and the Chinese are buying up Russian resources en masse. If Beijing openly supports Putin, then its position will be strong. And judging by the last congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping will not abandon Putin. But this will be as long as the Russian dictator firmly holds power in his hands and controls the situation inside the country.

If Putin’s actions directly affect China’s national interests, the situation will instantly change, the expert says. The Chinese had grandiose plans to build a trade route that would pass through Europe and become one of the main supply chains for Chinese industry. When Putin started the war, all of this was blocked. Therefore, China’s support will depend very much on how far Putin goes in escalating the war, reported “Current“.

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