Marcus Corga, a senior researcher at the McDonald’s Laurier Institute, said there are several ways to interpret the recent intensification of Russia’s military buildup in the Ukrainian border region.
“In the best scenario, Putin’s aggressive military buildup at the eastern border of Ukraine is an attempt to intimidate and send a message to the Ukrainian government and President Zelensky. [U.S.] “President Biden,” Corga said in an interview.
“But given the surge in war propaganda in Russia’s national media and multiple ceasefire violations associated with increased military power, Putin is preparing to invade and merge with Donbus in the name of protecting Russian speakers in the region. It is quite possible that he is doing so, so he will argue that it is a problem within Russia. “
In 2014, in the process of Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Russia sent troops to the Ukrainian border under the guise of testing military readiness. This has caused a conflict between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops, killing 14,000 people so far.
Some Ukrainian people see similarities between this and recent military buildup. Globe and Mail ReportThe 85,000 accumulation at the border was streamlined by the Kremlin in preparation for training exercises.
Military expansion occurs during periods of political turmoil within Russia. Following the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, there was a large-scale protest by Russian citizens and a Kremlin crackdown on Navalny’s allies. This is consistent with the gradual decline in popularity of the Kremlin among Russians, which is also cited as a reason for the protest. According to a recent poll, Putin’s approval has declined, with his approval rate dropping to 59% last April, the lowest in 10 years.
Korga says Putin’s geopolitical objectives are most of his actions in Ukraine, but military expansion along the border should also be seen “through the political lens of Russia in the country.”
“Putin recently passed a constitutional amendment that would allow him to remain in power until 2036, but his popularity in Russian polls is very low,” he says.
“In 2014, when Putin had a similar low rating, he attacked and annexed Crimea and his popularity regained. President Putin was increasingly angry at Navalny’s addiction and imprisonment. So you may be looking for a similar pastime before it’s expected to be a busy spring protest season in Russia. “
Strengthening military power at the border has sparked criticism from members of the Western Alliance, including the United States and Germany, both of which have urged Putin to reduce his military presence.
In an interview with NBC on April 11, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Moscow about the “results” of acting “aggressively and recklessly” in Ukraine.
In a meeting with Zelensky last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concern about what he called Putin’s “unstable behavior” at the border, “supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.” We reaffirmed Canada’s unwavering commitment to do so.
According to news reports, Zelensky requested a meeting with Putin about the neglected situation.
Dmitry Kozak, chief executive officer of Kremlin, said Russia could intervene on behalf of Russian-speaking residents of eastern Ukraine as Russia-backed separatists continue to clash with Ukrainian troops. Made a statement.
According to the BBC, Kozak said the situation facing separatists was probably similar to the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia. You will probably have to come to their defense. He also warned that if things got worse, it could be the “beginning of the end” for Ukraine … “a shot of the face, not a shot of the foot.”
Putin’s claim extends to Canada’s backyard in the Arctic. Russia recently submitted a submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shift to expand its claims to the Arctic Ocean floor. If approved, Russia’s claims will extend to areas where Canada has exclusive economic rights to fish, drill and other activities.
Russia has increased its military presence in the Arctic in recent years as the Kremlin increasingly considers the region to be the center of foreign policy, and Putin’s new document on Arctic development will soon be released in March. Will be. To Defense News.
Corga points out that coordination between Russia and the Communist Party of China also poses a threat to Canada’s interests in the Arctic.
“Over the past few years, we have witnessed a large-scale militarization of Russia’s Arctic, and last year declared Russia to aggressively expand its claims in the Arctic,” he says. “Coordination between Russia and China is also a threat as China strengthens its aggressive stance toward Taiwan and aims to expand into the Arctic Circle itself.”