This is therefore the perimeter of “Novorossia”, of that 18% (counting Crimea) of Ukraine that Putin could be satisfied with. Returning to the end of the USSR, the Russian president said that now that “tragedy” is a thing of the past, and “it is not what we are aiming for”. He now only counts the decision of “millions of people who consider themselves part of Russia by faith, culture, values, language: there is nothing stronger than their decision to return to their historical homeland”.
But beyond the modalities in which the so-called referendums took place, the celebration in the Kremlin and then the concert in the Red Square at the end of the day masked a very different situation on the battlefield. In the Zaporizhzhia region, a Russian missile attack hit a convoy of civilian cars on its way to Kherson. The toll is 25 dead and 74 injured. And in the Donetsk region, the Russians continue to lose ground. The garrison in Lyman in the north is half encircled, with the Russians fleeing the nearby villages of Drobyshev and Yampil.
Putin did not mention the real trend of military operations, just as he did not mention the chaos in which the recruitment operations of reinforcements to be sent to Ukraine are taking place: a partial mobilization that has escaped control, in many cases, with the Kremlin itself to admit the confusion and mistakes made by zealous officials who, in order to reach the indicated quotas, did not consider age, training or health limits. To arrive at paradoxes such as in the Tuva region where the local administration rewards the families of those who agree to enlist with rams, sacks of flour and coal.
The Defense Ministry has announced the arrival of the first reinforcements in Donbass: their task will be to defend the “liberated” lands, where among other things the annexation to Russia will allow the forced mobilization of Ukrainian citizens, as well as the extension of the “Nuclear umbrella”. This is the most worrying question for the future: how will Moscow respond to the continuation of the Ukrainian offensive against what has suddenly become national territory for the Russians? In his invective against the West, Putin did not repeat nuclear threats, but recalled the precedent created by the United States, “the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons in war”, against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Shortly before, the spokesman Dmitry Peskov had reiterated that now an attack on the four regions will be considered aggression against Russia, and the main concern naturally concerns the possible deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, suitable for a more limited theater of war than strategic missiles. Moves for which the Americans have not yet registered any preparations, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed yesterday. According to the Russian nuclear doctrine revised by Putin in 2020, in the absence of direct nuclear aggression, a nuclear response is still authorized in the event of a conventional attack on vital infrastructures for the nuclear arsenal, or in the event of an attack that in any case endangers the survival of the Russian state.