By Anjan Roy
Two days ago Russian President, Vladimir Putin, had warned the west of “unpredictable consequences” in case of continuing weapons supplies to Ukraine. What appears to be more and more unpredictable is the course of the war and its consequences. Russians are perhaps becoming impatient with Putin’s Ukraine war and voices are speaking out. Putin’s Ukraine war is completing 60 days on April 22, Lenin’s birthday.
To hide his blatant failures and the increasing toll on military personnel, Putin has now embarked upon a “nuclear sabre rattling”, as many experts in the West are thinking. This week, Putin has tested a so-called “new’ inter-continental ballistic missile which can carry nuclear weapons. In his reaction, Putin has claimed this move should force the West to re-think.
Notwithstanding, the West and Americans are not apparently feeling threatened. The world realises this is to hide his battleground failures. Too many threats of nuclear consequences are actually making these blunted.
The situation is reportedly hotting up at home for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Kremlin insiders are said to be uncomfortable with the rising number of fatalities to the Russian side in the war and expensive damages. Even Putin’s inner circle, so long silent, have started speaking out.
In the latest instance, one of the top oligarchs in the core circles of Putin has blasted him for his “insane war”. Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov, founder of Tinkoff Bank and a number of other companies in insurance and finance, has directly criticised Putin and called this a mad-man’s war in his social media site.
Earlier, another two oligarchs had criticised the Russian president, short of naming him directly. This is because the war is hurting the direct interests of the oligarchs and their wealth. The oligarchs are increasingly sliding out of the global billionaires list.
The triggers are the collateral damages of Russian president’s actions. Putin’s directive that all Russian companies must be de-listed from western stocks markets has already sharply brought down their market capitalisation. For example, Tinkov is no longer the billionaire he was. So many others have also slipped from the league tables.
These pronouncements had dented the image of Putin and his hold as well. On top, the Zelensky statements and interview are directly clawing away Russian images and those of Putin in particular.
Last week, the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, gave an interview in course of which he observed that he could no longer believe the world. He even stated, rather bluntly, that the western nations did not have “the guts” to stand up to an autocrat.
He was referring to the Russian threat that weapons supplies to Ukraine could bring in “unpredictable consequences”. His first salvo while launching the Ukraine war was that any interference in Ukraine from any country would bring in retribution that was unseen in history.
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s threats were interpreted as a threat to make nuclear strikes on those butting in. The threats had raised questions and uncertainty about future supplies of weapons needed for defending against Russia’s heightened attacks.
In his interview he sounded rather despondent and somewhat frayed, when talking about Ukraine being the bulkhead of democracies against its fight with the autocracies. He was aggrieved that even when Ukraine was fighting the cause of the liberal democracies there was little appreciation of the costs being paid by his country and support from allies.
A war is not just a fight on the ground. It is a fight against the adversaries on the ideological plane as well. The Russian are already on the back foot due to the fact that while they expected their so-called “special military operation” to last a few days and capture the country’s capital Kyiv in a blitzkrieg, that assessment has been belied.
Coming on top of that, the sinking of the flagship of the Black Sea fleet has torpedoes the Kremlin’s standing. It is clear that the Russians had no real information on Ukraine and its preparedness based on special training and grooming in the hands of US military experts for the last eight years.
Despite the Russian threats to face possible strikes from Russia to weapons supply lines in the country’s border areas, the United States has now stated the urgency with which they are supplying weapons and systems to the Ukrainians.
Top level US defence department spokesmen issued unattributed statements that a major worry of US supplies of massive caches of weapons is that these were going into right hands. It is feared that even if a portion of these weapons trickle into unwanted hands, these can have disastrous implications. This is because in war time and the situation in Ukraine as such, there is little tracking of the weapons supplies on ground.
The US sources have told western press that the top priority now is to keep Ukrainians adequately supplied with weapons they are required for the moment against Russian offensive, like long range missiles and anti-tank and anti-ship weapons fr different war theatres.
Responding to the Zelensky outpourings, the European Union has also come out with their versions on weapons supplies. The EU has stated it was committed to the cause of Ukraine and its war with Russia. They would brook no other considerations than the objective of Ukraine winning the war over russia.
It is to be appreciated that every utterance in a war time is a scripted piece and delivered for obtaining certain results. Zelensky’s address to parliaments across the world and his every statement is crafted to project a certain images and narratives to gain further help in the cause of the war. (IPA Service)