VLADIMIR POUTINE. The Russian president hardened his tone: in a speech delivered this Wednesday, September 21, 2022, he assured that the West was capable of striking Russian territories. An escalation in the war is very likely.
[Mis à jour le 21 septembre à 10h22] What if this Wednesday, September 21 marked a turning point in the war waged by Russia in Ukraine? Vladimir Putin, in a televised address broadcast in the morning (it was expected last night), delivered a very belligerent speech, falsifying the truth to make Russia the victim of this conflict and presenting NATO as a force willing to attack Russian territory. An untruth intended to assure the Russian population that its current action is legitimate, just like that which it intends to engage thereafter. Understand: a military escalation if necessary.
“The West, in its aggressive policy, has exceeded all limits. They are able to strike Crimea and other Russian territories. There are buildings, NATO planes that are mobilized. The West is pushing the Ukraine to be even more aggressive towards Russia, they want to crush our country,” said Vladimir Putin, adding: “After the start of the special military operation, we made very concrete proposals to find peaceful solutions. The West refused them and all agreements were broken. Ukraine received weapons, its soldiers were trained by NATO, a wave of repression engulfed Ukraine, with violence and intimidation. Most citizens in historically Russian territories do not want to be under the thumb of the Ukrainian regime. It should be noted that citizens have seen this violence.”
The threat of a nuclear attack from Russia on Ukraine or countries considered allies is clearly a realistic option for Vladimir Putin. “Nuclear blackmail is on the way, we can see that very well,” said Vladimir Putin, once again presenting his country in need to defend itself. “Russia also has a number of sufficiently heavy weapons. If Russia’s interests are threatened, we will use all the weapons at our disposal.”
Vladimir Putin also said he intended to “deploy superior military capabilities” in Ukraine. The autocratic president of Russia thus officially appealed to the reservists, whom observers estimate at the number of 300,000: “It is necessary to support the decision and the proposal launched by the Ministry of Defense, to set up a partial mobilization “Only citizens on the reserve lists will be mobilized. The date of the start of this mobilization is today, September 21. The conscripts will have the same advantages and privileges as the contractual soldiers”, he declared. . Finally, on the subject of the referendums in Dombass, Vladimir Putin presented things as if Moscow was not orchestrating an annexation of the invaded regions in the south-east and east of Ukraine, in an exercise classic war propaganda. “Some provinces have asked us to set up referendums. I am announcing that we are going to support their efforts”.
Tuesday, September 20, at the UN podium, Emmanuel Macron firmly accused Russia of jeopardizing the balance of peace in the world. “What we have been witnessing since February 24 is a return to the age of imperialisms and colonies. France refuses this and will stubbornly seek peace,” he said, adding: “Today we have to make a simple choice: that of war or peace. On February 24, Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, broke with an act of aggression, invasion and annexation, our collective security Russia has decided in doing so to pave the way for other wars of annexation, today in Europe, but perhaps tomorrow in Asia, Africa or Latin America. I call on the members of the United Nations to act so that Russia renounces the war. […] Those who are silent today serve in spite of themselves, or secretly with a certain complicity, the cause of a new imperialism, of a contemporary cynicism which disintegrates our international order without which peace is not possible.
Can Vladimir Putin launch a nuclear attack?
The Russian Federation is the first military power and the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, as such it is fully capable of launching a nuclear bomb on Ukraine, Europe or the United States. Only technical capabilities are not the only factor to consider. In theory, a nuclear attack should only be launched in a defensive context and in October 2020, Moscow signed an official document which lists the four cases that justify the use of a nuclear attack. Each time Russia must perceive not only threatening and nuclear capabilities but also intentions signaled by the adversary. It is therefore difficult to justify an attack against Ukraine with a nuclear bomb, the country not being nuclearized. On the other hand, against Europe the threat remains serious because according to Russia’s account of the war, the West adopts a threatening behavior and proliferates “aggressive declarations” with regard to the Kremlin.
Strategically, the nuclear threat is the last advantage that Moscow has to achieve its objectives and regain control of Ukraine given the difficult advances of the Russian army in Ukraine and the pressures and sanctions that the West is bringing to bear on Russia. . However, Vladimir Putin knows that if he launches a nuclear attack on Europe or the United States, Russia will be bombarded in return. Not content with agitating the nuclear threat, Vladimir Putin seized two nuclear power plants in Ukraine, Chernobyl and Zaporijjia, the second thanks to a bombardment. The control of the sites gives the president a certain ascendancy because the risks represented by the explosion of a power plant are unparalleled. But Vladimir Putin assured Emmanuel Macron that it was “not his intention” to attack the power plants and that, on the contrary, he was ready “to respect the standards of the IAEA for the protection of the power plants”.
The “nuclear briefcase” is held by three people and the trio must be unanimous to trigger a nuclear attack. Vladimir Putin, as President of the Russian Federation, has access to this weapon but he must obtain the agreement of the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of the General Staff, Valéri Guérassimov, to drop a nuclear bomb.
Short biography of Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin is a Russian politician and a central figure in the executive since 1999. Re-elected President of the Russian Federation for the fourth time in 2018, he has held the position since 2000 with a short hiatus between 2008 and 2012 during which he was president of the government, the equivalent of the Prime Minister.
Vladimir Poutine was born in 1952 in Leningrad (currently Saint-Petersburg), in a modest family of workers. He studied law at the University of Leningrad and graduated in 1975. He then joined the KGB (the intelligence services, which he left in 1991) and became an officer. He was then sent to the GDR in 1985, where he worked undercover. After the reunification of Germany, Putin returned to Leningrad in 1990. When his former law professor, Anatoly Sobchak, was elected mayor of the city in 1991, he asked him to join the team as an adviser. Vladimir Putin became an influential member of the town hall and was appointed first deputy mayor in 1994, before resigning in 1996. Then began a rapid rise: he entered the presidential administration in 1997, was appointed Prime Minister by Boris Yeltsin in 1999, then became acting president after the latter’s resignation that same year.
He was elected President of the Russian Federation in 2000, then re-elected in 2004. He gave more power to the security services while regaining control over the governors in the various regions. It enjoys fairly strong popularity, even if civil society (media, opponents) is increasingly controlled by the state. In 2008, he cannot stand for a third consecutive term. He then chose Dmitri Medvedev to occupy the post of president and was elected prime minister. In March 2012, despite many protesting voices, he was re-elected for a six-year term while Medvedev held the post of Prime Minister.
Putin rewrites Ukrainian history
It is indeed the rapprochement between the government of kyiv and NATO which is at the origin of the war started by Vladimir Putin but the Russian president is rewriting history. In his speech of February 27, 2022, he explained that the Russian military intervention aims to “protect the victims of genocide by kyiv”, to “liberate” the Ukrainians from “oppression” and to “maintain the peace”. Earlier, on February 24, he declared that “Ukraine is not just a neighboring country, it is an integral part of our culture and the history of our country”. This vision of “unity” between Russia and Ukraine, often mentioned by the Head of State, justifies the Kremlin’s military intervention in the border country. Moscow does not hesitate to rewrite the history of the Soviet Union and of Ukraine created from scratch by Russia, more precisely by communist Russia.
Since the break-up of the USSR, sovereign Ukraine has moved away from Russia towards the West, much to Vladimir Putin’s chagrin. Seeking to justify the entry of the Russian army into Ukraine, the one nicknamed “the Russian bear” has repeatedly explained that he wants to “protect” the Ukrainian people from the “Nazis” in power. The reference refers to the stealth association between Ukraine and Nazi Germany during World War II after the German promise to help Ukrainians leave the USSR. Today the neo-Nazi parties still exist but are ultra-minority and absent from the government.