Russian president prepares population for "lengthy" continuation of war

    WORLD  08 December 2022 - 10:50

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing the Russian population for a long war by remarking that the “special operation” in Ukraine could be a “lengthy process” and that the acquisition of new territory is a significant result of this process for Russia.

    He made these remarks during a meeting with the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC) on December 7 as recorded in the latest update on the situation in Ukraine by the Institute of the Study of War (ISW).

    During his public speech, Putin compared himself favourably to Russian Tsar Peter the Great by noting that Russia now controls the Sea of Azov, which the tsar also fought for. The ISW believes that this invocation of Russian imperial history explicitly frames Putin’s current goals in Ukraine as overtly imperialistic and still maximalist.

    The Russian informational landscape responded positively to Putin’s assertions and set further conditions for the protraction of the war, with the report pointing to one military-blogger who compared Ukraine to Syria and noted that Russian forces did not start meaningfully experiencing victories on the battlefield until years into the operation. Like this, the Russian media is joining the president in preparing the population for a long continuation of the war.

    “Putin notably is using the Russian HRC as a means to consolidate political power in a way that is fundamentally incompatible with basic principles of international human rights law. As ISW previously reported, Putin changed the composition of the HRC on November 17, removing Russian human rights activists who were critical of Kremlin censorship and installing political and proxy officials as well as a prominent Russian military correspondent”, the report notes.

    It also recorded Putin’s comments at the HRC on a possible nuclear war alteration, stating “Putin claimed that the threat of nuclear war is growing, but that Russia will not be the first to employ nuclear weapons. Putin added, however, that if Russia is not the first to initiate the first use of nuclear weapons, it will also not be the second to do so, because the “possibility of using [a nuclear weapon] in the event of a nuclear strike on [Russian] territory are very limited.” Putin also emphasized that Russia is not “crazy” and is acutely aware of the power of nuclear weapons but will not “brandish” them. Putin’s statements support ISW’s previous assessment that while Russian officials may engage in forms of nuclear saber-rattling as part of an information operation meant to undermine Western support for Ukraine, Russian officials have no intention of actually using them on the battlefield”.

    The ISW report continued by touching upon the use of Iranian-made drones used by the Russian army, noting that they have striked Ukrainian cities for the first time in three weeks, likely as a result of Russian forces having modified the drones for colder weather. Ukrainian Air Force Command Spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat stated on December 7 that Russian forces resumed the use of Iranian-made loitering munitions after a three-week break and suggested that Russian forces had faced complications using the drones due to icing issues in colder weather.

    The latest ISW update also noted on the developing dynamics in Belarus, mentioning, that “Russian efforts to pressure Belarus into joining the war in Ukraine may be causing internal friction in the Belarusian military. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on December 7 that soldiers of the Belarusian border service and the Belarusian Armed forces are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the activities of the Belarusian military-political leadership due to the threat of Belarus entering the war in Ukraine”.

    Caliber.Az

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