Putin runs out of excuses as Ukraine extends war to Crimea

Explosion in Novofedryvka village in Russian-occupied Crimea

Explosion in Novofedryvka village in Russian-occupied Crimea

The explosion at the Sakhi air base in western Crimea has shaken nerves in Moscow and sparked panic across the Russian-occupied peninsula of Ukraine. Traffic jam Russian vacationers in a hurry to shorten their vacation reported on the route leading to the Crimean Bridge.

The exact nature of the alleged Ukrainian attack is still unknown.of washington post An unnamed Ukrainian official said he was calling it a special forces operation.other international media coverage It confirmed Ukraine’s responsibility without providing specific details.In the hours after the explosion, much of the debate among military analysts centered on whether the damage was caused by missiles, airstrikes or combat drones. massive destruction on site.

On Tuesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fell short of confirming the Ukrainian military’s involvement. But he was clearly a nod to the airbase attack, Noted That Russia’s war against Ukraine would begin with the occupation of Crimea and end with its liberation.

Also read: 98% of Ukrainians believe Ukraine will win the war with Russia

In Moscow, the reaction to the airbase attack was one of characteristic denial. Rather than blaming Ukraine, Russian officials tried to downplay the incident, instead claiming that multiple explosions were caused by an accidental detonation of aviation ammunition. It fits perfectly with the similarly implausible excuses Russia has put forward over the past six months in an attempt to explain an equally embarrassing series of setbacks in the invasion.

The record of Moscow’s ridiculous excuse is that Kremlin officials called Russia’s withdrawal from northern Ukraine “gesture of goodwill” Despite the fact that it came immediately after the defeat of the country in the Battle of Kyiv.

Russia used the same term “gesture of goodwill” again at the end of June to describe a similarly ignominious one. Russian withdrawal From Snake Island. Not surprisingly, the whole Russian concept of a “goodwill gesture” has fallen prey to social media memes. Ukrainians are making fun of alternate realities, often farcical, created by Kremlin propaganda.

When Ukraine sank the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet early in the war, the Kremlin predictably quickly came up with an excuse to save face. Mosvka was sunk by two Ukrainian anti-ship missiles at her in the Black Sea on April 14.

however, event version Facilitated by Russia, President Putin’s prized flagship actually sank while being towed in stormy seas after an accidental fire on board. I was. Especially since there was little weather information to indicate that the sea was rough at the time of her sinking.

Moscow’s excuses are sometimes surreal.

In a blatant attempt to explain why the Russian military has so far failed to overcome Ukrainian resistance, members of the Russian parliamentary committee said in mid-July that Ukraine had been turned into a superhuman killing machine by American scientists. Declared to be using modified mutant soldiers . . Co-Chairs of the Commission and Russian lawmakers Konstantin Kosachev and Irina Yarovaya were quoted in Russian newspapers Kommersant It claims to have found evidence that Ukrainian military personnel had been turned into “deadly monsters” in a laboratory under U.S. supervision.

Of course, Russia’s unwillingness to publicly acknowledge its successes on the Ukrainian battlefield is not unprecedented. Deception has always played a key role in armed conflicts, and Moscow has long been known as an innovator in information warfare. Russia also has some very good military reasons for downplaying its retreat in Ukraine.

Public recognition of the Ukrainian military’s ability to strike high-value targets deep within Kremlin-controlled areas would confirm the incompetence of the Russian air defense system and the fighting spirit within the ranks of the invading army, which was already suffering from demoralization. will weaken further. to great loss.

At the same time, there is something obsessive about Vladimir Putin seeming more ready to accept even the most damaging disinformation than to acknowledge Ukraine’s victory. The Russian dictator has repeatedly preferred to portray his country’s armed forces as incompetent, rather than admit the humiliating truth of defeat at the hands of a country he claims does not exist, and talk nonsense of voluntary withdrawal. was ridiculed by

Also read: Russia not blaming Ukraine for attack on Crimean airfield, refusing to admit air defense shortcomings – ISW

Putin is rapidly running out of excuses as his invasion approaches half a year ago. Initial hopes of a swift and victorious war have turned into a brutal conflict against a determined and capable enemy fueled by the power of a democratic world. superseded by the reality of

Despite deploying most of the Russian military’s available manpower, his army has fought to a virtual standstill, at a terrible price in both manpower and machinery. The ugliness has proven devastating for Moscow’s self-proclaimed superpower. In fact, anyone who still calls Russia the world’s second-largest military is almost certainly sarcasm.

The effects of this collapse of military prestige are already evident in Moscow’s old imperial backyard.Kazakhstan is now blatant conflict Kremlin and Azerbaijan I no longer feel constrained By the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the South Caucasus. Tiny Lithuania recently opposed Russia for weeks over the shipment of supplies to Kaliningrad, but even loyal Belarus has so far resisted heavy Kremlin pressure to join the invasion of Ukraine.

These negative trends will only intensify if Russia fails to change its military fate in Ukraine. As more countries lose their fear of toothless Russian bears, potential allies will begin to question the value of such geopolitically and militarily compromised partners. Russia, which has already embraced its long-term isolation, may find itself increasingly excluded from the top table of world affairs and relegated to a subordinate role in its unequal partnership with China.

Also read: US reaffirms support for Ukraine’s efforts to protect sovereignty, including Crimea

Putin’s perilous predicament suggests that we may be facing one of the most perilous periods in modern European history as the war between Russia and Ukraine enters a potentially decisive stage. I mean. Expect everything from desperate attacks and escalating terrorist tactics to energy cuts and nuclear blackmail in the coming months.

That said, there is good reason to believe that these efforts will ultimately fail so long as Ukraine’s Western allies can continue to rally in support of the country. It exposed the diminished reality behind the myth.

This column Atlantic Council. NV is republished with permission.

Read the original article at Ukraine’s new voice