Putin Raises Ukraine Ante as His War Fortunes Sink

Vladimir Putin is losing the war and raising the stakes.

While the Russian president was proclaiming the annexation of four regions of Ukraine on Friday, hinting again that he might use nuclear weapons, his invasion force continued to lose ground to Ukraine’s counteroffensive. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization vowed to keep aiding Ukraine, while the European Union took steps to shield its economy against Mr. Putin’s energy war. 카지노사이트

Seven months after Russia launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine, both the fighting and the economic war with the West are going badly for Moscow.

“Putin is trying to turn a position of military weakness into a position of strength by using fear: fear of nuclear attack in Ukraine and nervousness about escalation in the West,” said Ulrich Speck, a German security analyst. “It won’t work.”

Ukraine’s growing arsenal of Western weapons has helped it to seize the military initiative, threatening Russian control in occupied areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Mr. Putin’s attempts to undermine EU support for Kyiv and sanctions on Moscow by choking off natural-gas supplies haven’t weakened resolve so far, despite the looming prospect of a Europe-wide economic recession.

European natural-gas prices continued their recent decline on Friday as EU ministers agreed to reduce electricity demand this winter and impose levies on energy companies’ profits, with the proceeds going to help households and industries pay their high bills. EU countries continue to disagree about the next steps, including a possible gas-price cap.

Even this week’s apparent sabotage using explosives of the NordStream pipelines under the Baltic Sea, for which many Western officials believe Russia was probably responsible, only briefly unnerved gas markets. Moscow shut down NordStream, which piped Russian gas to Germany, in early September after the Group of Seven leading advanced economies announced sanctions on Russian oil.

The Kremlin has dismissed criticism of its seizure of Ukrainian land, denied involvement in the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines and played down the exodus of fighting-age men from the country to avoid conscription, calling such reports exaggerated. Mr. Putin has indicated that this military campaign will continue until goals are met.

About three-quarters of respondents to an opinion poll in Germany, the EU’s most populous country, said they want support for Ukraine to continue despite rising energy bills. The German government this week unveiled a €200 billion, equivalent to $196 billion, plan to cap energy costs. 안전한카지노사이트

In a test of Europe’s political stamina in the face of economic pain, sanctions skeptics fared poorly last Sunday in elections in Italy, where the next government is expected to continue with a pro-Western, pro-Ukraine policy.

“Putin is losing the energy war,” said Simone Tagliapietra, an energy expert at Bruegel, a nonpartisan research institute in Brussels. “He bet that if he cut off the gas, Europe would give up. Instead, Europe has managed to largely replace Russian gas.” The EU still faces massive challenges in securing affordable energy supplies this year and next, Mr. Tagliapietra said, but the bloc’s efforts “go in the right direction.”

Mr. Putin has also come under diplomatic pressure from China and India, which have been neutral but well-disposed toward Moscow, to end a war that is taking an accumulating toll on the world economy by disrupting food and energy supplies.

At a mid-September summit in Uzbekistan, Mr. Putin publicly acknowledged the concerns of Chinese President Xi Jinping about the war, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi all but told him to end the fighting, saying “today’s era isn’t one for war.” 카지노사이트 추천

Instead, on Sept. 21 Mr. Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, a step he had previously avoided, knowing that a mass call-up wouldn’t sit well with his citizenry.

“Russia is currently failing in its Ukraine campaign,” said Grigorii Golosov, a political scientist at the European University at St. Petersburg. “I think Putin became convinced that without additional manpower, Russia simply couldn’t go on with this war.”

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