Putin’s plan for the rest of the war

These days, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is in China for the Belt and Road Forum
These days, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is in China for the Belt and Road Forum

Putin realizes that he has already become a criminal for the West.

The transfer of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine is a significant development. We did not have such weapons before. We lobbied for it very actively or advocated it with our partners. It was a challenging topic and became epoch-making because of this – we had been negotiating the transfer of these weapons for more than a year. Even a year and a half. This is a record because all other weapons and military equipment had already been agreed upon long ago. Even the aircraft, which, of course, have a much longer range and a greater risk of escalation, as our partners from the United States have said.

The decision was approved back in early September, but it took more than a month to finalize all the logistical issues. There was a surge of information about ATACMS in the press in early September. This coincides with our estimates of when the decision was made.

But can the ATACMS assure victory?

A weapon of victory is an aggregate value, because there is no single type of weapon, or piece of military equipment that would take over the entire effort. All kinds of weapons are needed. This is a classical approach because it is through combined arms operations that the issues of counter-offensive and strategic offensive are resolved in one way or another. Therefore, no single platform does not carry the weight of the entire military.

Indeed, we needed long-range missiles because they could destroy logistics facilities, control, command posts, ammunition, troops, and equipment. Ukrainian HIMARS systems made it so Russia could not rely on logistics points up to 75km from the front. Now, that is pushed back to 100 kilometers. That is why it was and is crucial for us to have the ability to hit as deep as ATACMS can.

We must do everything to prevent Putin from staying in power

Of course, there will be a question of quantity. But I wouldn't worry too much about it, at least for now. All weapons and military equipment initially arrived in small amounts, then they were adapted to our operations and then increased. As far as I remember, we only sent a small amount of anything at a time. So this is following the trend that was there before. We will see what happens next – whether there will be an actual increase in the number or not.

We were afraid that Putin would bring weapons from China. But he didn't get anything new. In any case, diplomacy in China is a long-term process. These are complex negotiations that have been going on for quite some time. Most likely, his participation in the recent Chinese summit was primarily to show his presence. It was more a statement of presence than of any specific achievements. Although, of course, they had separate agreements specifically for this purpose.

Strategically, they did not achieve anything new because China's policy toward Russia is now quite clear. It shouldn't change in the near future. Unless, of course, some strategic context changes. But so far, it is more or less stable. Unfortunately, it is not very favorable for Ukraine, but we can more or less understand where it is heading.

The main thing for Putin now, of course, is to maximize this idea of a multipolar world, to build other centers of gravity, as they say in the geopolitical sphere, and to reduce the weight of the collective West in solving certain issues. For him, this is the foremost geopolitical task, in principle. He realizes that he has already become a criminal for the West. So far, it is de jure, but soon, it will be de facto and in some foreseeable future. It's a separate problem, unfortunately, that has been going on for a long time.

I don't think he will have a chance to avoid this charge and sentence. That's why he is trying to make the West as irrelevant as possible, trying to destroy its influence. To do this, he makes every effort to create other centers, elevate them, and show that they are already more important than the West. This is his main task. This is his only chance to stay in power in the future. Of course, we must do everything we can to prevent him from doing so.

How vital can North Korea's participation be? Unfortunately, it's hard to say because no one knows the state of the weapons and military equipment in Korea. It is an exceptionally closed country, and there needs to be more information about it.

We know that they have large amounts of weapons and military equipment from the Soviet era, and they transferred it to China and the Soviet Union. We understand that they have a large amount of ammunition stored in warehouses. So, technically, they have something to send to Russia.

The question is: what conditions have they actually agreed to? We do not know this. We will find out, of course, in the near future. What will be the impact? I don't think it will have a dramatic impact. But let's see, it's too early to jump the gun.

A year ago, I said that the primary resource that Russia counts on is human resources. We have seen this human resource, particularly in the latest episodes of Russian attacks on Avdiivka. The Russians continue to burn their people en masse. We have an apparent understanding that they take this resource from regions that have no impact on the overall political situation. Russia has a very divided society. Something can happen in some regions that other regions either don't know about or aren't even interested in. They don't really care.

So, indeed, we see that a large part of Russian society either doesn't know, doesn't want to know, or doesn't want to get involved. They do not know these loss figures for certain. They are "smeared" all over the territory. In principle, they are holding back this popular discontent, which could have already been there with such numbers of losses.

We are talking about hundreds of thousands of casualties in this war. But so far, we do not see any severe changes in the mood of society. They can continue this for some time. But at the same time, we clearly see the unwillingness of the Russian authorities to hold another wave of mobilization. They will delay it. There are different opinions on this. Some say that they will wait until after presidential elections next year. Some say that they will delay it until the offensive that they are planning for early next year. There are different opinions. But they can prepare for at least one more wave of mobilization. We just need to understand this. That is why we need to have a firepower advantage with the help of artillery, armored vehicles, etc. This is what will enable us to stop them.

Russians are now actively building new equipment. They are restoring old equipment that has been mothballed since the Soviet era, but, as a rule, it is not in working order at all. They are building new equipment. This is their primary task now. They have quite a few plants that work in three shifts. They had pretty severe problems with contracting, resource allocation, and production preparation. They have already solved many of these problems. Some remain.

But their main task is to increase production. Recently, there have been speeches by their leadership, including the Ministry of Defense, where they clearly state that they are allocating additional resources. And this is confirmed by releases from foreign intelligence – the budget is significantly increased. They are building new workshops and preparing new lines.

Indeed, they need help with utilizing these funds and implementing these projects. Of course, we cannot assume that these problems will go unsolved. They will be resolved eventually. We need to take advantage of this time to prepare a response.

Read also: Strike on Zaporizhzhya apartment, analysis of ATACMS strike, foothold across Dnipro

Our leadership of the Security and Defense Forces knows what to do. However, time is a factor that must be taken into account.

In general, the Russians are preparing to continue the war, and the Russians are preparing to intensify offensive actions. The Russians are preparing to stop our counteroffensive actions as far as they can. Their primary focus is on new equipment and, of course, ammunition. They are quite serious about a very significant expansion of production capacity, in particular through mobilization measures. They can refit civilian enterprises for military programs.

The third country on this axis of evil is Iran. This is a question of the possible influence of Western countries on Iran, which may still exist. But then, this is more of a financial, organizational, and technical issue. They were not stopped by any individual decisions, resolutions, or anything else. The diplomatic front on Iran in the West continues to exist.

There are active actions: they are trying to stop it, to negotiate as much as possible. They are trying to explain to Iran that it is not profitable for them to enter into a full coalition with Russia (although they are already there). We understand that they have been in an alliance with Russia for a long time. But there are active actions to stop them somehow.

We will see. It is challenging to make predictions here. Russia is doing everything possible to bring Iranian weapons to our land. It is too early to make predictions, but we see that this part of the diplomatic front is quite tense.

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