PARIS.- From the moment he announced his invasion of Ukraine last February, Vladimir Putin warned that The conflict could end in a nuclear attack. The Russian president has repeated that threat, and since then, in recent weeks — led by the near-total collapse of his military forces on the ground — He practically disappeared from public view.
Far from being good news, this approach worries Western political and military leaders. Increasingly isolated and paranoid, they fear becoming almost identical Joseph Stalin, Ultimately the decision was made to carry out that ultimatum in the face of the loss of the Crimean peninsula.
“Whoever tries to interfere in our affairs should know that The Russian response will be immediate and have consequences that no one in history has imagined”, Putin warned immediately after invading Ukraine. Finally, on September 21, he said the Kremlin was ready to use it “All the armed forces are there to protect their territorial integrity, their independence and their independence”NATO members, though determined to avoid an enlargement, have never threatened that unity.
But it is not certain that the Kremlin autocrat is capable of reading reality in the same way. Immersed in a parallel reality where the West’s sole objective is to destroy Russia, Putin has managed to impose the same ruthless system on his fellow citizens as Stalin over time, but he himself increasingly resembles a ferocious dictator. In the last years of his life: Complete intolerance of dissenting opinions, perpetual suspicion of his closest collaborators, extravagant and unrestrained brutality, absurd and messianic ideas.
Like Stalin during that period, Putin has been in power for more than 20 years, and in his current presidency, which began in 2018, he has displayed the same attitude as his predecessor. During these years, he amended the constitution to stay in power until he was 84 years old, ordered the poisoning and eternal imprisonment of his political opponents, started a war with disastrous consequences for the world and his country, and ordered the assassination of everyone. In their inner circle, there are those who dare to question their decisions.
Today, in 2022, Russia became Personal autonomy. Steeped in age-old imperialist and ultranationalist ideology, with its brutal repression of civil society and all forms of dissent and its imposition of almost the entire country at war, Putin became the perfect example. Stalinist dictatorship, From cult of personality to heroic death.
And therein lies the problem. In that Stalinist system, where the leader was infallible, it was hard to imagine him believing he would enter Kew in three days. After announcing the annexation of four eastern Ukrainian provinces to great fanfare in MoscowPutin is always willing to accept that He embarks on a ridiculous adventure that leads him to failure.
“He could not see reality. As happened in Afghanistan, with a population that did not accept the needless death of their children, with outdated conventional weapons, there was an army unfit to fight a modern war,” analyzes former French ambassador Gérard Arad to the United Nations.
The annexation of the eastern Ukrainian regions seems destined to go on the books The Kremlin’s biggest military defeat in this adventureAs evidence of the dizzying progress of Ukrainian troops, a month later the Russians managed to recapture Kherson, the only major regional capital, and its surroundings.
“If this continues, Ukrainians will be in Moscow by Christmas”, eclipsed Colonel Pierre Cervantes, a great expert on armed conflict. “If one takes into account the condition in which the troops are coming forward, it could not be otherwise. Without adequate winter clothing, without food, with World War II-era weapons…not to mention the quality of the remaining military supplies. We are indeed facing what appears to be a defeat,” he said. He says.
however, Putin has not yet hinted at withdrawing from Kherson In the first week of November. That silence deeply worries Western policymakers, many of whom believed the Kremlin leader could stand little more than losing the Crimean peninsula.
“For Putin, against all odds, Crimea is non-negotiable. The problem is that the Ukrainian president is faced with the advance of his forces Volodimir Zelensky is committed to recapturing ‘all’ of the annexed territory, including Crimea.”, analyzes Air Force General Jean-Paul Palomeros, French Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2012.
Convinced that Putin would never agree to hand over the peninsula, Western officials have issued repeated warnings to the Kremlin in recent weeks against the use of nuclear weapons. This is evidenced by the extraordinary final report issued by the G-20 from Bali this week. In its fourth paragraph, traditionally devoted to economic issues, the text notes: “The use of nuclear weapons or the threat of their use is unacceptable”A declaration adopted unanimously by all participants, including Moscow’s ostensible allies China and Turkey, and internationally isolating Putin, who did not attend the summit.
Fearing an escalation, US officials have stepped up contacts with their Russian counterparts in recent weeks. Two days before the summit, CIA Director William J. Burns met privately with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin, in Turkey. Not long ago, White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan and Nikolai Patruchev spoke twice on the phone. In October, US Defense Ministers Lloyd Austin and Russian, Sergei Shoigu, did so twice. Also, there are numerous phone calls between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“In all cases, discussions focus on how to avoid any risk of nuclear conflict and escalation,” says lawyer Jean-Claude Beaujour, president of the Atlantic Forum. But, in his opinion, for the United States, in the current situation, “the main objective is to open a large number of communication channels.”
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