WAR IN UKRAINE. In the aftermath of Vladimir Putin’s announcements, Europe fears an escalation in the war in Ukraine, because of the threats, in particular nuclear, made by the Russian president. Is a flare-up of the situation avoidable?
- This Thursday, September 22, Europe is waking up tormented after the threats made by Vladimir Putin, who intends to accelerate his military operation in Ukraine by force and terror, between the sending of 300,000 additional soldiers into combat and the evocation of nuclear weapon.
- Words that did not fail to make the international community react. The European Union is reportedly considering new sanctions to further deter and isolate Russia from taking action. China, an ally of the Russians, could also play a mediating role, having declared that it wants a ceasefire.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the United Nations on Wednesday evening for the creation of a “special tribunal to punish Russia for the aggression against [son] State” and called on the UN to strip Moscow of its right of veto in the Security Council.
- Follow the latest news on the war in Ukraine live.
In a particularly inflammable context, Ukraine and Russia exchanged prisoners on Wednesday. On the Ukrainian side, 215 people were recovered, including 188 who fought at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol (southern Ukraine), which was one of the symbols of the resistance. Among the 215 people released by the Russians, five military commanders have been sent to Turkey “in absolute safety and in comfortable conditions” until the end of the conflict, announced Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, following a agreement with his Turkish counterpart. For their part, the Russians have recovered 55 prisoners, including a former deputy close to Vladimir Putin.
During an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers, organized in New York on the sidelines of a United Nations summit, Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, announced that the 27 would ” study new restrictive measures” against Russia, after threats made by Vladimir Putin. Earlier, Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “I think this (Putin’s threats, editor’s note) again calls for sanctions on our part.” For now, the content of this new wave of sanctions has not yet been decided. But it aims to weaken and isolate a little more a country already the target of numerous economic sanctions since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Seven months after the start of the war in Ukraine, and as the conflict gets bogged down, Vladimir Putin is putting pressure on the neighboring country and its allies. During a speech this Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the Russian president got angry with a West which, in his eyes, wants to “destroy our country” and which “has exceeded all the limits of its aggressive policy.” In his words, “we offered peaceful solutions, but the West rejected them.” Thus, Vladimir Putin announced an increase in the means deployed in Ukraine to carry out his “special military operation” whose “main objectives remain unchanged.” A “partial mobilization” was thus decreed by the Russian head of state, corresponding to a call to commit for all citizens registered on the lists of reserves but also “those who have military experience.” Vladimir Putin wants to swell his ranks, a “decision commensurate with the threat we face, to ensure the security of our population, for territorial integrity.” 300,000 people are affected. The call begins on Wednesday. Before leaving for the front, training will be carried out, it has been announced.
Vladimir Putin threatens nuclear response
Beyond human resources, Vladimir Putin once again brandished the nuclear threat, believing that he was the target of “nuclear blackmail”. The Russian president “made a point of recalling that the Russian Federation is also equipped with a number of sufficiently heavy weapons.” Before continuing: “if ever its national interests of Russia are threatened, we will undoubtedly use all the weapons which are at our disposal.” The leader thus wanted to warn his opponents: “those who blackmail with nuclear weapons must know that this blackmail can turn against them.”
“Referendums” in Ukraine with annexations by Russia?
A threat that marks a real turning point in the war in Ukraine, especially since referendums will be organized on September 23 and 27, 2022 in four Ukrainian regions to determine whether or not the local population wishes to be annexed by Russia. A similar process was used in 2014 in Crimea, where more than 97% of voters were in favor of joining Russia.
Faced with the displacement of populations and the majority remaining on the spot only Russian speakers, the result is not in doubt. Vladimir Putin will then seek to take control of these territories, as in Crimea. “Russia cannot abandon people close to it to be torn apart by executioners and not respond to their desire to determine their own destiny,” said the Russian president.
Why is Vladimir Putin strengthening his army in Ukraine?
If Vladimir Putin made such announcements, almost seven months to the day after the start of his offensive in Ukraine, it is because the “special military operation” he launched is slipping. The Ukrainians indeed manage to launch counter-offensives in several regions of the country, in particular on the side of Kharkiv, in the north, from where the Russian army is withdrawing, but also on the side of Kherson and Lugansk, through, in particular , bombings.
Also, the announcement of the mobilization of reservists is not insignificant. Indeed, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, this represents 300,000 people. What to compensate for the human losses since the beginning of the conflict? Very likely. If this same ministry says that it has lost only 5,937 men since the start of the conflict, the reinforcements announced should make it possible to replenish the decimated ranks, but also to strengthen them, even if Russia has always remained opaque on the number of soldiers deployed.
In addition, the supply of its troops in material seems to know some difficulties. The Head of State asked manufacturers to “accelerate production capacities” in order to “deliver the necessary armaments” to the army “as quickly as possible.” Brandishing the nuclear threat could thus aim to slow down the Ukrainian response while new ammunition is delivered.