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Putin Expects NATO, And Possibly Poland In Particular, To Escalate The Proxy War In Ukraine

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Putin Expects NATO, And Possibly Poland In Particular, To Escalate The Proxy War In Ukraine

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Substack,

President Putin shared a lot of insight about the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine during the press conference that he held during his latest trip to Uzbekistan. The first point of relevance that he made is that Zelensky is no longer regarded by Russia as Ukraine’s legitimate leader after his term expired. According to President Putin’s “tentative estimate” of this legal question, Rada Speaker Stefanchuk should now be seen as Zelensky’s legal successor.

The Russian leader also speculated that the only reason why the incumbent remains in power is for him to carry out scandalous moves like possibly lowing the draft age to 23 and even 18 years. In his words, “I believe that after this and other unpopular decisions are made, those who are acting today as representatives of executive government would be replaced with people who would not be responsible for the unpopular decisions made. These representatives will be simply replaced in a snap.”

Moving along, in response to a question about NATO chief Stoltenberg’s suggestion for members to let Ukraine use their arms to hit targets inside of Russia like the US just tacitly approved of Kiev doing, he reminded everyone that long-range precision strikes require space reconnaissance data. Since Ukraine lacks these capabilities, such strikes can only be carried out with NATO support, including through instructors inside Ukraine masquerading as mercenaries for plausible deniability purposes.

President Putin advised the West to think twice about this and then addressed Russia’s fresh push into Ukraine’s Kharkov Region, which he confirmed was in response to the shelling of Belgorod and aimed at carving out a “security area” exactly as he earlier warned he’d order if those attacks didn’t stop. On the topic of Belgorod, he lamented that the Western media doesn’t report on Ukraine’s strikes there, and hinted that his envisaged “security area” could expand to stop longer-range attacks if need be.

He was later asked about Ukraine inviting French “instructors”, to which he responded by saying that his forces regularly “hear English, French, or Polish on the radio” when listening in their opponents, thus confirming that their mercenaries have long been deployed there. Of those three, President Putin believes that the Polish ones are the least likely to leave, which is an allusion to Russian officials’ prior claims that it plans to annex Western Ukraine or at least incorporate it into a sphere of influence.

As for how he sees everything ending, he reaffirmed his commitment to peace talks and reminded everyone that it’s Ukraine that unilaterally froze this process, not Russia. Mid-June’s upcoming “peace talks” in Switzerland are only designed to “create a semblance of global support” for the West’s unilateral demands of Russia aimed at inflicting a strategic defeat upon it. Suffice to say, President Putin promised that this won’t succeed, and he concluded by saying that it’ll only be more painful for Ukraine.

Reflecting on his remarks, the Russian leader signaled that he’s sincerely interested in peace but is also preparing for an escalation in the conflict since NATO’s latest moves suggest that it’s still disinterested in compromising. The US is using Zelensky as its figurehead for implementing unpopular decisions aimed at indefinitely perpetuating this doomed conflict, after which it’ll likely replace him with someone else once public opinion demands it.

Even in that scenario, however, it’s unclear whether another Ukrainian regime change would precede the recommencement of genuine peace talks that ensure Russia’s national security interests. President Putin’s words about Poland came amidst it expressing support for using Western arms to strike targets inside of Russia, countenancing shooting down missiles over Western Ukraine, and repeating its position that a conventional intervention in that neighboring country can’t be ruled out.

From the looks of it, Poland is indeed preparing to conventionally intervene in Ukraine if Russia achieves a military breakthrough, which could spike the risks of World War III by miscalculation due to the US’ dangerous game of nuclear chicken that it’s playing as explained here. In sum, the NATO-Russian security dilemma is spiraling out of control, and Russia might use tactical nukes in self-defense to stop any large-scale NATO invasion force that threateningly crosses the Dnieper towards its newly unified regions.

Therein lies the importance of President Putin hinting that his country might expand its “security zone” to defend against Ukraine’s use of long-range precise strike systems against targets within its pre-2014 territory. He wants NATO to know the territorial extent to which Russian forces might go in the event that the front lines collapse, which is essentially dependent on them and their decision to allow it to use such Western arms with the bloc’s space reconnaissance support.

The message being sent is that Russia has no interest in going beyond those geographical limits that NATO itself is responsible for setting through its abovementioned decision, which is meant to prevent the bloc from overreacting if their opponents achieve a military breakthrough. A Polish- and/or French-led conventional intervention would already be dangerous enough, but that invasion force’s potential crossing of the Dnieper could trigger a tactical nuclear response from Russia in self-defense.

The latest military-strategic dynamics suggest that a conventional NATO intervention is seriously being considered, even if it’s only a partial one that remains west of the Dnieper. The signals coming from NATO as a whole and Poland in particular show that they want an escalation in order to continue fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian, but President Putin just countersignaled that his country is prepared for all eventualities.

It’s therefore up to the West whether or not everything spirals into World War III.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/31/2024 – 02:00

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