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Putin – 20 years of unfulfilled promises. The war in Ukraine

Putin – 20 years of unfulfilled promises. The war in Ukraine

Since 2001, russian president putin’s rhetoric regarding Ukraine has gradually changed. At various stages of preparations for a full-scale aggression, putin stated about different goals of russia in the conflict with Ukraine, from resolving the conflict in Donbas to de-Ukrainization and even ending US dominance in the world.

🔸 April 2005. «The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and compatriots found themselves outside the russian territory». Despite the absence of a single word about Ukraine, putin’s subsequent actions confirmed that this statement was directly related to Ukraine.

🔸 December 2010. Putin clarified his opinion: «Anyone who doesn’t regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants it restored has no brains». However, already in 2018 when he was asked what event in russian history he would like to change, putin answered: «The collapse of the Soviet Union».

  🔸 In February 2014, although putin called the change of power in Ukraine a «rebellion», he supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine. There were no statements about the federalization of Ukraine at that stage.

🔸 In October 2014, at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, putin noted: «part of the territories were annexed to Ukraine as a result of the Second World War. This doesn’t mean that we don’t respect the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state in general. I really hope – it seems to me that it is inevitable – on the normalization of russia-Ukraine relations and their development».

🔸 In May 2017, during a press conference with the President of France E. Macron, putin called Yaroslav the Wise «our prince» and claimed that the direct heir of Kyivan Rus’ is primarily present-day russia, not Ukraine.

🔸 Putin’s infamous article from July 12, 2021 «On the historical unity of russians and Ukrainians», in addition to manipulations about «common history», contained the main thesis – «true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with russia», and «russians and Ukrainians are the one nation that artificially separated».

🔸 In 2021, putin recognized the authorities of Ukraine and, although he criticized Ukraine’s desire to join NATO and the EU, nowhere did he declare his intention to introduce troops.

🔸 Even against the background of the escalation of the conflict in the East in March 2021, putin denied the likelihood of an armed invasion and justified the increase of the military presence near the Ukrainian borders with exercises that supposedly do not threaten anyone.

🔻 As we can see, everything that putin said about the impossibility of war turned out to be a lie. On the morning of February 24, putin announced the start of a «special operation» aimed at «demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine», which marked the beginning of a full-scale war against Ukraine.

It should be noted that, according to the information of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, putin postponed the start of the invasion of Ukraine three times, until the General Staff convinced him to give the order to cross the border. As subsequent events show, the General Staff of the russian federation fundamentally miscalculated in assessing the situation, since the russian units were provided with food, ammunition and fuel for only three days. After it became clear that the «lightning-like operation» was defeated, and the West fully supports Kyiv in its struggle, the goals of the «special operations» were repeatedly changed and eventually transformed into «protection of the population of Donbas». Already in March, representatives of the kremlin began to declare that the task of the «special operation» does not include the overthrow of the current government in Ukraine, the occupation and the destruction of statehood, and Zelenskyy was once again recognized as the legitimate president.

After a clear defeat in the North of Ukraine, moscow decided to change its plans and concentrate its attack on the East and South. In September, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, expelling the occupiers from Izium and Balaklia, which was a turning point – Ukraine seized the initiative on the battlefield. In response, on September 21, putin announced a partial mobilization in the russian federation and declared his readiness to use nuclear weapons against the West. At the same time, «referendums» were called on the inclusion of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson regions into russia, based on the «results» of which, on September 30, putin announced the accession of these regions to russia and threatened to defend them «by all means». On November 11, 2022, the russians left Kherson and the right-bank part of the Kherson region under pressure from the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

So far, neither side of the war plans to stop. When last week the President of Ukraine offered russia to stop hostilities and withdraw its troops from Ukraine by Christmas time, the kremlin categorically refused.

❗️ Although at the press conference on the results of the EAEU in December 2022 putin assured: «The SMO is going in its own way, everything is stable there, there are no questions or problems there today», in fact the opposite is true. Russia will not be able to win a war that it has already lost politically, economically, and increasingly from a military point of view. However, putin will maintain maximalist goals regarding the war in order to stay in power, which is threatened in the kremlin, on the one hand, by ultra-radicals who have rallied around the idea of a complete victory in Ukraine, and, on the other, by the russians affected by sanctions and the consequences of putin’s economy.

  • 6 January, 2023

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