The Erroneously Published Russian Victory Statement- what could it mean?
Interesting error from Saturday I missed, the Russian state news agency accidentally published (and quickly deleted their victory statement. But the Internet never forgets. It welcomes Ukraine back to Russia, and congratulates Putin for taking the ‘historic responsibility’ of settling the ‘question of Ukraine’ (a question which, it has to be said, was only being asked by the Russian government).
It’s interesting for several reasons, firstly because it suggests that their goals were more dramatic than had been anticipated. Most analysts had not thought they would be going for full annexation, because it would be impossible to control due to the inevitable insurgency and resistance (a view backed up by the way Ukrainians have pulled together and fought so far).
Secondly, it’s an indication of the mindset with which Putin has gone into this. Implying that there is a ‘question’ about Ukraine implicitly suggests that similar questions also arise amongst all other states formerly part of the Soviet Union. Whilst it was known that this was the way Putin thought, this suggests that the problem might be greater than anticipated.
Thirdly, it will make the peace talks that are due to be held significantly more interesting. They were already likely to fail, but I imagine the Ukrainians will want answers about this as well as everything else.
Fourthly, it’s likely to make the Ukrainians fight even harder. It suggests an existential threat to Ukraine in a way that losing some territory, or even being put under a puppet government controlled by Moscow doesn’t. One implicitly allows you to retain some identity (albeit under control), this most certainly would not. That’s quite the motivator to fight like hell.
This week is going to be an interesting one. The sanctions are going to start to bite, there may well be huge economic problems in Russia, and the war will become impossible for the ordinary Russian to ignore. It’ll be a big test of how much control (and how brutally it has to be done) Putin has over his population whilst fighting a war simultaneously.
In terms of the conflict, it’s also the week where the Russians are likely to start having logistical problems. The supplies they brought with them are likely to be running low, and it might not be easy to get in new ones past angry Ukrainian partisans and military units.
For foreign affairs it could also be interesting. Last week Putin raised the alert level of their nuclear armaments to a level not seen since the Cuban missile crisis. Now this almost certainly isn’t anything to worry about, it’s just a posing move to remind the rest of the world that he’s a big boy with big boy’s toys, but it’s interesting to note that he’s found the need to do it.
We’re likely to see more sanctions, and some of the states which have held out on being too critical so far (notably India and China) are likely to be forced closer to having to take a stance, particularly if the fighting becomes more brutal, which it may well do.
In the UK, there’s one very important thing we need to do. At the moment, the Government is prevaricating on accepting Ukrainian refugees. We need to give a clear commitment to take them. So if you’ve not yet done so, write to your MP, let’s ramp up the pressure on them. If you’ve already done so, write again. The picture above has a link which even has a pro-forma letter for if you don’t have time to write a personal one. It’s for democracy and freedom, and to save as many lives as is possible. Slava Ukraini!
28th February 2022