A stage equipped with maxi screens and billboards announcing that “Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson are Russia”. In Moscow’s Red Square, preparations are underway for next 7 October, the day in which Vladimir Putin will celebrate his own 70 years old and the annexation to Russia of the four occupied Ukrainian regions, subjected to a sham referendum not recognized by the international community. In all likelihood, the Russian president will be surrounded by a crowd. Celebrating a non-existent “victory” on the ground by joining the Russian Federation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson will not, however, be able to hide the profound difficulty facing Russia seven months after the start of the war in Ukraine.
Putin, tactical nuclear strike? The Tsar, locked in a bunker, more and more alone (new doubts about his health)
The growing difficulties of Russia
After four months of Russian occupation, in the center of Lyman the Ukrainian flag has returned to the air while Kiev troops “continue to make progress in offensive operations along the north-eastern and southern front”, as reported by British intelligence in its daily update on the war. The liberation of Lyman, in particular, highlights, once again, the difficulties of the Russian army in maintaining control over the Donbass. Lyman, in fact, is part of the territories for which Putin announced the annexation to Russia. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said that the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk will be part of Russia within the borders of 2014 and admitted that the borders of the annexed regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia “are not yet determined” and that the issue it will be resolved with further consultation with the population. Judging by how the Russians are losing ground, the question of the borders of these last two regions will also be determined by the counter-offensive carried out by the Ukrainian army.
The accession of Ukraine to NATO
The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, announced that his country will formally request accelerated membership in NATO and the heads of state of nine European NATO member countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, all former -comunists) responded with a joint statement in which they declare that they support the path towards Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance and invite all thirty member countries to step up military aid to Kiev. An important signal, even if at the moment Ukraine’s NATO membership is impossible from a legal point of view: a law states that it is not possible to ally with countries in conflict.
Putin alarms NATO: “Prepare a nuclear test”. The Pentagon: There is no imminent risk
Putin is increasingly alone
Western support for Ukraine shows us an increasingly isolated Putin and increasingly nervous, convinced that Russia must win at all costs and that for this reason it raises the stakes and agitates the specter of nuclear tests on the border with Ukraine.
“Putin now feels cornered and can be quite dangerous and reckless”: this is what CIA director Bill Burns said during an interview with CBS, adding that the Russian president must “be worried, not only about what is happening on the battlefield in Ukraine but also about what it is happening at home and internationally ». Despite China’s February promise of “a friendship without limits,” Burns explained, Beijing has refused to offer military support.
The difficulties faced by Moscow in Ukraine also lead to discussions on the stability of the current administration: in the event that Russia were to come out totally defeated, the country would find itself in a situation of total chaos and political and social uncertainty.
Putin’s future at the helm of Russia
As he prepares to celebrate his birthday, Vladimir Putin should also start worrying about his future in the Kremlin. If Ukrainian troops succeed in regaining even more territory in the Kherson or Donbass regions, Putin’s role could be called into question. The US newspaper Politico has hypothesized twelve possible successors of the Tsar and among these are Dmitry Medvedev, former President of Russia and current vice-president of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev, former director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) and current secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Alexei Dyumin for years in the Federal Guard, Putin’s personal security service, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
The “gift for Putin” of the citizens of the Czech Republic
Meanwhile, as reported by Reuters, the citizens of the Czech Republic, through a crowdfunding campaign called “A gift for Putin” which was remarkably successful, raised more than $ 1.30 million (£ 1.17 million). The money will be used to buy “Tomas”, a modernized Soviet-era T-72 tank equipped with modern night vision and communications equipment, to be sent to the Ukrainian army. 11,288 donors participated in the cowdfunding campaign, managed by the Ukrainian embassy in Prague.
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