Vladimir Putin Can Use Dirty Tactics For Russia To Win The Ukraine War

President Biden has warned that Vladimir Putin is actively considering the use of chemical weapons in the invasion of Ukraine. That may come as a surprise to some, but it shouldn’t. Moscow has engaged in a dangerously escalating game. The logic that existed before the conflict is still strong today: Russia is forced to work through a scenario where it must escalate or risk conceding defeat by backing down in Ukraine. Some take comfort in the fact that Russia has yet to use chemical weapons, suggesting that any threats to do so may well be a hoax. This is almost certainly out of place.

At the beginning of the conflict, Russia quickly and decisively beheaded the Ukrainian government and captured Kyiv. Russia wants a quick military maneuver that could lead to Ukraine’s surrender. When that hasn’t happened, Russia has engaged in further escalating military actions in the east and south of the country. After encountering unexpectedly stubborn resistance, the Russian campaign took a turn for the worse. Hospitals, theatres, schools, etc. are targets in Russia’s quest to take over Ukraine, as is the growing list of individuals Russia wants to get rid of. Since this has been so stagnating – and with the prospect of urban warfare growing – it seems very likely that another escalation could be on the way.

Image depicts graphic content) An injured woman, locally known as Olena Kurilo, is seen after an air strike damaged an apartment complex outside Kharkiv, Ukraine on February 24/ 2022.

Wolfgang Schwan / Anadolu Agency / Getty

As the war increasingly revolves around capturing urban environments and damaging supply chains, this conflict will result in increasing numbers of civilian casualties. Some argue that urban warfare could be a “nightmare” for Russian forces. There is a certain logic to the argument in a traditional conflict, where soldiers are bound by military law that restricts unethical conduct during war. That logic breaks down in the face of an enemy that doesn’t enjoy rendering a city vulnerable to mass bombardment, food and water shortages, chemical weapons attacks, or worse.

The worst actions are off the table for now, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they happened later. Putin laid the groundwork for the options he later intended to use. Before the invasion, Russia accused the United States of smuggling chemicals into Ukraine, while Russian separatists in the Donbas region repeated their claims. This may seem like a strange accusation, but it makes sense when you realize that this is the necessary background to come up with a good reason for war. Their allegations are not limited to chemical weapons, but also target biological and nuclear weapons.

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A man clears debris at a damaged residential building in Koshytsa Street, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, which is believed to have been hit by a military projectile, on February 25, 2022.

DANIEL LEAL / Getty

What does this mean for the war in Ukraine? Yes, it depends. If Russian forces can slowly win this war under current conditions, then Putin may decide not to escalate. However, what would such a victory mean? The easier it is for Putin to declare victory and return home, the better.

We should be on the lookout for such escalation when it appears that Russia’s advance is stalling or even retreating. Putin has put himself in a situation where, if he loses this war, he too could lose everything. If he believes that the stability of his regime depends on victory, then we should not ignore the Kremlin to escalate this war in a substantially dirtier direction. They can take any shape with just a little imagination.

If chemical weapons are used, Russia will almost certainly try to blame the attack on Ukrainian forces or link it to the US or NATO. Perhaps the Russian forces will assume that the Ukrainians handled the weapons improperly as they set off. It is possible that Russia will declare that its forces are targeting a chemical weapons stockpile after obtaining intelligence about an impending future attack on its forces. Perhaps they will even consider it a false NATO flag operation. Either way, Russia will see itself as a victim or a reluctant party to a pre-emptive strike. Russia will want to be the good guy for a domestic audience, even if it exposes Ukrainians to brutal, inhuman deaths on a mass scale. Perhaps they will even provide aid and humanitarian assistance, just to rub salt in freshly opened wounds.

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A man shows a new crater after Russian shelling hit the area several times, in the Moskovskyi district in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022.

Marcus Yam / Getty

A less-explored idea is that Russia may want to use Ukraine’s captured nuclear reactors to obtain on-site fissile material needed for dirty bombs. Assuming the radioactive material used to make the bomb could be tracked, it would give the appearance of being Ukrainian-made. Such a move would allow them to try to justify their previous baseless allegations, regardless of whether they wanted to use the device themselves.

But now we are far beyond ourselves. Those types of escalation mean that the war in Ukraine is going badly for Russia and Putin is willing to risk further escalation with the US and NATO. If those in the Kremlin really believe that Ukraine can fulfill their demands, then we can expect that Russia will hold out. How much that is true appeared in the air. Therefore, such an option is likely to remain speculative for the time being.

Then what can we expect? Now, much the same but with increasingly grisly news stories about how Russian forces are acting in this war. There will be more attacks on infrastructure, first responders, hospitals, schools, vehicles and even journalists. After all, why would Russia allow hospitals to continue tending to enemy wounds, allowing them to fight another day? Why allow roads, highways, and railroads to continue to supply their enemies with both military and non-military aid? Once upon a time, the whole world decided together what was and was not acceptable practice in war. Historically and today, Russia has demonstrated that it does not care much about global opposition to its wartime behavior.

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Civilians take part in a training session of a Kyiv Territorial Defense unit on a Saturday in a forest on January 22, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Sean Gallup / Getty

So what can we do?

We must continue to put pressure on Russia and support Ukraine. Our pressure should not be too high to risk an uncontrolled escalation. If Putin believes his regime is indeed in danger, then all bets are off on what kind of behavior Moscow will pursue either in Ukraine or even in the EU and US. At the same time, Putin and his leadership must feel the consequences of this conflict. So far, we’ve done well, but we mustn’t stop there.

If the issue is Putin’s fear that this conflict could damage the stability of the Kremlin regime, perhaps we can offer a partial restoration solution in exchange for a withdrawal on terms. before state? There is good reason to be concerned that Russia’s escalation could be fueled by an all-or-nothing mentality. That option is therefore never out of the question, even if we put maximum pressure on Putin’s regime.

It is also worth considering how we should limit the scope of our actions in Ukraine. That’s especially because it’s unlikely that the delicate balance of punishment enough to hurt, but not enough, an existential threat to Putin can be reliably and consistently met. It is for this reason that there are advocates of a no-fly zone. This way, at the very least, future Russian attacks in western Ukraine would be largely prevented, and NATO could severely limit Russia’s ability to engage in terrorist air operations.

At the same time, such a move is inherently risky. It shows a very real possibility of war between Russia and NATO, especially when their planes intercept each other in Ukrainian airspace. While there are suggestions that there could be a limited no-fly zone, it is unclear what that would look like and how reliable it could be without the aircraft’s permission. NATO to shoot down Russian jets. That move could very well lead to a random war. We are unlikely to do so unless the conditions on the ground become unbearable.

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US President Joe Biden holds a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on March 24, 2022.

Halil Sagirkaya / Anadolu Agency / Getty

That’s where the tragic irony lies: We can move to establish a no-fly zone only after Russia engages in the very activity the zone would be designed to contain. Even then, it is still by no means guaranteed to be the correct course of action. Perhaps fear of such escalation on our part will somewhat limit Putin’s worst impulses in Ukraine.

Until then, however, the only thing we can be sure of is that Russia will continue to escalate in Ukraine and its conduct of the war will become dirtier by the day.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/vladimir-putin-could-use-dirty-tactics-so-that-russia-wins-ukraine-war?source=articles&via=rss Vladimir Putin Can Use Dirty Tactics For Russia To Win The Ukraine War

Russell Falcon

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