The Kremlin claims its military escalation is owing to a March 24 presidential decree by Zelensky that outlines a military strategy to retake Crimea.
I think that is merely a smokescreen and a false pretext. Putin knows that Ukraine is incapable of anything like this.
I think there are two real reasons:
(1) In February, the Ukrainian government imposed sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin’s righthand man in Ukraine, and his three television news networks. These news networks were very effective in convincing Zelensky’s supporters to abandon his party to support the pro-Putin political party. And I was predicting at Concorde Capital (I left in January) that Medvedchuk and his party were on the path to retaking the parliament or the cabinet with enough time (because Medvedchuk was so effective in peeling off Zelensky’s supporters, most of whom voted for him to end the war in Donbas).
Without these three television networks, Medvedchuk and his party are severely crippled in retaking power. And the Kremlin understood this and was rather irate with Zelensky, who is a 100% puppet of the IMF (now that he has been cut off from his pimp Kolomoisky). And with the February sanctions, the Kremlin understands that it can never retake Ukraine through democratic means with its mass media outlets being censored. And the only means of taking Ukraine is by military warfare.
Of course, the Russians could be bluffing yet again in order to frighten the West. Putin knows occupying all of Ukraine is too expensive. But he can occupy certain strategic locations (Kherson water reservoirs, eastern military bases, eastern natural gas pipelines) and bomb others further west.
(2) The second reason is the increasing possibility of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline being derailed. Completion of the pipeline is of utmost concern to Putin, and the project’s derailment would be as great a defeat as losing Donbas and Crimea. By expanding his occupation of Ukraine, Putin would put a certain end to natural gas transit through Ukraine and force the Europeans to accept the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, with no other alternative.
Zenon Zawada, political analyst for Concorde Capital investment company in Kyiv between 2012 and 2020.
The Russian government is escalating its confrontations with the West in order to test the Biden administration’s resolve.
Contrary to some assertions, however, we are not witnessing a second Cold War. The Cold War was essentially a stalemate until the Soviet empire imploded. Instead, President Vladimir Putin is engaged in an intimidating international offensive to regain world stature, reconstruct a Muscovite empire, and divide the West.
Russia is reinforcing its military deployments along Ukraine’s borders and raising the prospect of another invasion. It has increased its maritime presence in the Arctic and persistently provokes its Western adversaries through overflights of U.S. and NATO ships in the Baltic and Black seas and close to Alaskan airspace. Such actions have three main objectives: to demonstrate that Russia is a global power, to probe for soft spots in Western defenses, and to distract attention from growing internal turmoil in the Russian Federation. The danger is that Putin’s strategists and generals will miscalculate and precipitate an armed conflict that will rebound against Russia.