Putin's nuclear threats in early June, Putin's article on World War II with the threat of a new war in the middle of the month, Putin's "victory parade" on June 24, Putin's referendum to "enthrone" until 2036, Putin's continued fire attacks in Donbass, and finally Putin's mobilization of reservists on the penultimate day of June against the background of active preparation for the always dangerous for Ukraine maneuvers "Caucasus 2020" provide grounds to talk about the unprecedented increase in danger and the emergence of risks of "use of military leverage" by Russia against Ukraine.
The chain of new risks, personally initiated by the President of the Russian Federation, was well noticed in Kyiv. It came to the point that on June 29, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar stated that Ukrainians should be ready for a full-scale Russian offensive against Ukraine. The diplomat named the reasons for such a scenario as internal instability in Russia, in particular due to dissatisfaction with the results of voting for changes to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and the issue of water supply to the occupied Crimea.
Personal activity of the Chekist president
President Putin has been widely criticized in May for failing to cope with the pandemic and falling confidence in him. Many began to talk about the fact that the chair under the master of the Kremlin shook. And his former intelligence colleague Yuri Shvets even expressed the opinion that the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Mykola Patrushev and the head of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov are most interested in "merging" the current president. One way or another, Putin's situation is not in the best condition now. There are signs that he is irritating the influential people of the power bloc and the so-called new elites who want the real development of the state on the foundation of new meanings. At the same time, in order to demonstrate his strength and gain new capabilities, Putin resorted to considerable personal activity.
Despite the pandemic, the Russian president did not abandon the military parade, signed a decree on the basics of Russia's policy in the field of nuclear deterrence, and decided to stage a risky expression of will. But he did all this against the background of threats to the world and surrounding countries. Meanwhile, in the world's think tanks, the headquarters of politicians and the media, there has been increased talk about the growing inadequacy and unpredictability of the Russian leader. That is why the risks for Ukraine have risen sharply, and tensions have reached pre-war levels. It is possible that Putin will resort to a real large-scale aggression against Ukraine in order to divert attention from the internal imbalance and crisis of relations with the Western world..
Putin's program article
Putin's article on the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazism was published on June 18 in the American magazine National Interest, a publication with a dubious reputation and is said to have ties to Russia's intelligence services. According to the plan, it was to add to the president of the Russian Federation the authority of a state leader, which dictates the conditions of coexistence of his opponents. Here, Putin probably demanded to be equal to another bloody dictator - Stalin.
"The main purpose of the Russian president's article on World War II is to legitimize not so much Russia's official picture as today's imperial policy," said Boris Sokolov, a professor at Moscow's The Day (June 22).
Another researcher, Oleksandr Lytvynenko, director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies, says about the intention to put opponents at the negotiating table on an equal footing (dt.ua, June 24). "Negotiations of the 'big ones,'" Litvinenko quoted Putin as saying, "are a chance to avoid a forceful settlement of disputes." A forceful solution, in the presence of nuclear weapons that can physically destroy the Earth, is extremely dangerous. It is the responsibility of the leaders of the five states to seize this opportunity. " In conclusion, the director of NISS draws the following conclusion: “The desire to hide from the future in the past and the reactionary worldview of the elites is a classic sign of the period on the eve of great upheavals. And this should be realized. "
Oleksandr Demchenko, editor of the Left Bank department, saw the Kremlin Chekist's article as a direct threat to a large-scale war: "A great war is inevitable, it is likely to begin soon. This is the red line that runs through the body of Putin's article. And he doesn't even hint, but speaks directly ”(lb.ua, June 19). She complements her opinion with a relevant quote: “Everything is changing: from the global balance of power and influence to the social, economic and technological foundations of life of societies, states and entire continents. In past epochs, shifts of this magnitude have almost never been possible without major military conflicts, without a power struggle to build a new global hierarchy. "
Thus, in the chain of threats and messages, Putin's article occupies a prominent place and has its own dangerous codification. The owner of the Kremlin, among other things, is trying to convince that the artificial changes in Russia threaten serious challenges to the world.
Putin's "victory parade" and its disguised symbols
June 24 The Victory Parade dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the end of the so-called "Great Patriotic War" ended in Moscow. Despite the pandemic. According to Russian media, more than 13 servicemen, including representatives of foreign countries, took part in the event. 234 units of military equipment passed through the Red Square, including 24 novelties. The parade ended with the flight of 75 planes and helicopters. The propaganda press noted with pathos that "24 samples of the latest technology are a record number." She listed the novelties - from the infantry fighting vehicle "Armata" to the coastal missile complex "Ball" and heavy flamethrower system "Tosochka".
It can be assumed that Putin needed the parade to consolidate public opinion about himself as a powerful state manager capable of ensuring the creation of the latest technology in spite of sanctions. And Putin needs to cover up a number of problems and losses with the parade: the loss of the space market in favor of the private company of Ilona Mask, troubles with the creation of the Petrel rocket (with its severe accident and death in 2019), the failure of the "superplane" Su-57, mortal the verdict of the Armata tank and the Boomerang platform, the development of military transport aircraft, and many other failed projects.
It should be added that among the guests at the parade, only China and India can be singled out, the rest are the former Soviet republics, which are trying to implement flexible policies due to the danger of Russia. At the same time, Putin's real deeds are not as good as he tries to imagine.
Elimination of the current Constitution of. Lullaby Pu
On June 25, Russia launched the so-called "referendum" - a theatrical action, during which the issue of full concentration of power in the hands of the incumbent President of the Russian Federation should be resolved. Putin needs to be fixed for everyone - there is no alternative to him in Russia. Therefore, he decided to initiate a "referendum" today, and on the eve of the presidential election. Moreover, this step implies a high probability of increased aggression in countries adjacent to Russia.. And tectonic shifts in the world and in Russia itself will contribute to this. More promising for Putin will be "land-collecting" cases, which in themselves should blind a historical figure from an embittered, destructive personality.
This is the real reason for the Kremlin's aggressive remarks about the former Soviet republics and the intention to seize what came to them during the life of the Soviet empire. Putin's readiness for further aggression is expressed synchronously, and it directly affects Ukraine as well. Namely, in an interview with Russia, Putin said the following: "The question arises: if a republic became part of the Soviet Union, but received in its" baggage "a huge amount of Russian land, traditional Russian historical territories, and then suddenly decided to leave from the Union. Well, at least then she would go out with what she came with, and she wouldn't take "gifts" from the Russian people with her. After all, none of this was prescribed. " Here even comments are superfluous…
It should be added to the case of the "referendum" that Russian observers also talked about the latest election technologies, which are extremely dangerous for the future. "At the end of the plebiscite on amendments to the Constitution, the authorities began to admit that this measure was used, among other things, as a testing ground for new electoral technologies. It will be recalled that in addition to the extended deadline, it also includes the freedom to choose polling stations, recruit observers through public chambers, and a simplified form of the final protocol, ”Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported (June 29).
Reservists, in line! Dangerous "Caucasus 2020"
On June 29, Putin signed a decree calling up reservists for military service. Interestingly, experts immediately saw in this step the continuation of the risk line and the likelihood of preparation for an adventure by the Russian leader. In particular, as well-known expert and lawyer Boris Babin wrote on Facebook, Putin's decree is a covert mass mobilization into the Russian army. "For the first time in many years, the decree does not set any terms for the duration of conscription. In fact, persons from the reserve are called by the Russian authorities to a special order. Thus, the decree can be considered a covert form of mass mobilization in the RF Armed Forces of the reserve, for an indefinite period and to an unknown extent, "- said the expert.
The growing danger here may be directly related to Russia's conduct of strategic command and staff exercises of the Russian Armed Forces "Caucasus 2020". Earlier, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadym Skibitsky noted that the military maneuvers "Caucasus 2020", the active phase of which will take place in late September, increase the threat of Russia's resumption of large-scale hostilities against Ukraine.
Strategic deterrence and sanctioning
Meanwhile, the West is pursuing a comprehensive containment of the Kremlin's intentions. On June 28, it became known that the US Congress plans to allocate $ 3,8 billion. to deter Russia in Europe. The Committee on Armed Forces of the US House of Representatives in the project of allocating funds noted the need to allocate an additional $ 3,789 billion to support the EU's efforts to contain Russia's actions. We are talking, among other things, about the development of the submarine fleet, satellite communication systems, strategic training of means for the transfer of servicemen by sea. It is also proposed to allocate $ 250 million as military assistance to Ukraine, and $ 50 million of which will be spent on financing lethal weapons. In addition, the document prohibits the financing of any activity that promotes the recognition of Russian rule in the occupied Crimea. Congress also proposes to further limit US military cooperation with Russia, except when it comes to reducing the risk of conflict.
For their part, on June 17, NATO defense ministers decided at a summit to strengthen the alliance's air defense and missile defense systems to counter Russia's nuclear missile threat.
Separately, the US State Department approved the possible sale of up to 16 Mark VI patrol boats and related equipment to Ukraine for a total of $ 600 million.
In turn, on June 29, the decision to extend sanctions against Russia was announced. The Council of the European Union has outlined the extension of sanctions against certain economic sectors of the Russian Federation for the next six months, until January 31, 2021. The document notes that such restrictive measures were introduced in 2014 due to Russia's actions to destabilize Ukraine and directed against Russia's financial, economic, energy and defense sectors, as well as in the use of dual-use goods. Interestingly, the sanctions restrict access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies, and prohibit financial assistance and brokerage services for Russian financial institutions. In addition, the restrictive measures also prohibit the direct or indirect import, export or transfer of all defense-related materials, and impose a ban on all dual-use items that can be used by the Russian military as end users. Sanctions also hinder Russia's continued access to certain sensitive technologies that could be used in Russia's energy sector.
On the other hand, Germany has begun preparing sanctions against the United States through Nord Stream-2. It is stated that they will be put into effect if Washington introduces new measures against Nord Stream-2. Germany is preparing to retaliate against the United States if President Donald Trump carries out his threat to kill the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline with additional sanctions, "Bloomberg wrote. It is known that the Merkel government is considering the option of applying pressure in order to take coordinated action at the EU level. The Chancellor wants to impose sanctions against the United States in combination with other EU countries. Berlin is worried that new US sanctions could hit a much larger number of German and European companies than before. It is known that the construction of the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline was stopped due to the sanctions imposed by the United States in December 2019 against the contractors of the gas pipeline. The Kremlin has promised to complete the project on its own and launch it a little later than planned. And the US Senate registered a bill to impose additional sanctions against companies involved in the Nord Stream-2 project. If sanctions are imposed, companies that provide legal and insurance services to the Nord Stream-2 project could be subject to the US embargo.
Thus, the course of events indicates that the world has entered a zone of turbulence and confrontation. The risks of preventive action and general confrontation between the Western world and Russia have increased, but the contradictions between individual players in the Western camp have also deepened. AND Despite the growing support for Ukraine due to Russian aggression, new challenges arose in relation to Ukraine itself. Which, among other things, requires more active and dynamic defense training, improvement of the situation with defense planning and reforms of the Armed Forces and the defense industry. Urgent preparation of a realistic Concept for the application of the Armed Forces and preparation of a Defense Plan.
Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CEDAW)