Tuesday, October 4, 2022

What exactly is Putin planning to do now?

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A member of the local referendum commission hangs a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the wall of a polling station in Donetsk.

In four occupied Ukrainian regions, Russia is letting the people vote on joining Russia in democratically illegitimate bogus referendums. At the same time, Russia wants to send a total of 300,000 reservists to Ukraine – around twice as many as are estimated to have been fighting there so far. They should bring the turning point in the war that has been going on for seven months and is anything but successful for Russia. Among other things, a planned large-scale annexation of Ukrainian areas is to be enforced. But is that realistic? The most important questions and answers:

What role do planned annexations of Ukrainian territories play?
From Friday, the occupiers in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as in Cherson and Zaporizhia in the south, want to push through votes on union with Russia that violate international law. These are sham referendums because they are being held without Ukraine’s consent, under martial law and not according to democratic principles. With the four areas, Moscow threatens to annex an area of ​​over 108,000 square kilometers. That is more than two and a half times the size of Switzerland.

Similarly, Russia annexed Crimea, Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula, back in 2014. As was the case then, international recognition is not in sight this time either. Nevertheless, the Kremlin would classify future attacks on Luhansk, Donetsk, Cherson and Zaporizhia as attacks on its own territory. And Putin threatens: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will definitely use all available means to protect Russia and our people.” So also nuclear weapons.

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