From war to diplomacy, what are the current scenarios for Putin?

6 mins read
From war to diplomacy, what are the current scenarios for Putin?

The only question that comes to mind after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24th is: Can President Vladimir Putin win the war in Ukraine?

A month after the start of the Russian offensive, the situation undoubtedly looks more difficult than Putin imagined, AFP reported.From war to diplomacy, what are the current scenarios for Putin?

But experts believe the Russian leader is still willing to pay a price to achieve his goals.

Putin also has diplomatic doors to get out of this difficult situation if necessary, but he must face serious challenges if he chooses to invade all of Ukraine.

What are the objectives of the war?

Putin’s goals that Ukraine should be ‘neutral’ and ‘unarmed’, that is, not join NATO, remain unchanged.

The Kremlin, on the other hand, is no longer raising the issue of the overthrow of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy, who has become a symbol of resistance in the eyes of the Western world.

The Russian attack is facing an unexpected Ukrainian resistance.

This complicates matters for the Kremlin, which has become accustomed to achieving military successes, from the annexation of Crimea in 2014 to support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Frederic Charillon, professor of international relations at the University of Auvergne in Clermont, commented:

“Putin still thinks that this situation will not continue and that he will impose his will en masse thanks to his military power, regardless of the resistance. Faced with the challenges faced by the Russian military on land and sanctions against Russia, Putin is increasingly moving towards a ‘war of destruction and punishment’.”

Tatiana Stanovaya, an expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said, “The question is not what Putin wants to achieve, but how and at what cost. It’s going to take time, it’s going to cause more problems. However, he believes that he has no choice and has a historic duty to restore Russian influence.”

Winning the war at all costs

If the besieged Ukrainian army collapses in the east of the country, Russia could potentially control a country larger than France, with a population of about 40 million, and serve as a buffer zone against NATO.

However, this risks russia finding itself facing a rebellion.

Frederic Charillon said, “It is very difficult to control a region in the face of an insurgency movement,” recalling that the United States faced the same challenge in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Analysts worry that Russia could take steps such as the use of chemical weapons or targeting humanitarian convoys.

Marie Dumoulin, an expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), commented:

“The initial plan, possibly a lightning war, to take control of Kiev very quickly and overthrow the Ukrainian government, did not work. The most likely outcome now is for Putin to intensify his efforts and move to a dirty war strategy to force the Ukrainians to surrender.”

Are there exit doors?

If the situation stumbles or remains unresolved, Vladimir Putin could salvage his reputation by taking political concessions from Kiev and maintaining control over some areas.

Abbas Gallyamov, a former Kremlin press adviser and now an independent political analyst, said, “The key for Putin is power, repression and victory. He doesn’t back down without making gains. Ukraine needs an agreement on its neutrality. But that’s clearly not enough. He also wants the independence of the republics of pro-Russian separatists from Crimea as well as Luhansk and Donetsk.”

Russia may also be willing to take control of territory in southeastern Ukraine, and in particular the besieged city of Mariupol, to connect Crimea to Russia by land.

His troops can then advance west towards the Black Sea port of Odessa.

Threats against Putin

France’s Institute of International Relations (IFRI) stressed that if the war lasts longer ‘without the possibility of a quick solution’, tensions are likely to worsen, leading to the ‘collapse of the Kremlin’s power system’.

Some actors in the regime, including the country’s rich and powerful, and the heads of the security services may be inclined to ask Putin to ‘stop’ and even dismiss him, as some analysts have suggested.

However, Tatiana Stanovaya said, “I don’t see any sign of that among the Russian elite at the moment. Although the war seems to have shocked some of these elites, they are not yet ready to stand up to it politically.”


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