The possibility of worsening public opinion in the country due to international bullying and frustration in peace talks
Western experts have analyzed… “The situation is different from when Crimea was annexed.”
It has been noted that Russia could lose its exit strategy in the war due to the annexation of occupied territories in Ukraine.
Given the state of war, annexing occupied territories is a gamble that may put Russian President Vladimir Putin in a deep corner at home and abroad.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on the 29th (local time), Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior researcher at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace, a US think tank, noted that this situation is different from the situation of the annexation of Crimea, from consider the conditions of the Russian army.
After annexing Crimea in 2014, Russia quickly incorporated it into its territory after a referendum.
This is similar to the annexation process that Russia is currently carrying out in the four occupied territories of Ukraine: Donetsk Oblast, Luhansk Oblast, Kherson Oblast, and Zaporiza Oblast.
“In Crimea, there was joy in the patriotic act of occupying a country of cultural and historical importance without firing a single bullet,” said Kolesnikov.
He explained that the current annexation of occupied territories may appear peaceful on the outside, but on the inside, concerns are brewing about the path Putin will take.
Externally, Russia’s international isolation may deepen and the possibility of negotiating with Ukraine to end the war may end.
Western countries, including the United States and the European Union (EU), have warned of additional sanctions on Russia’s annexation of occupied Ukraine as a violation of international law.
With the exception of a few countries such as Syria, North Korea and Belarus, there is no country to support the annexation, so Russia’s alienation from the international community is expected to worsen.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the annexation of the occupied territories meant that the current regime could no longer communicate in Russian.
An even bigger threat to Putin is the chilling public opinion in Russia about conscription to defend the newly incorporated territories.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on the 24th that the annexed site would receive the same military protection as elsewhere in the Russian Federation.
Russia is engaged in a protracted war of attrition, failing to achieve its goal of overthrowing the Ukrainian regime during the early stages of its invasion.
Western intelligence agencies estimate that the number of Russian soldiers killed in the process reached 70,000 to 80,000 (allegedly around 5,000 Russians).
As Ukraine accelerates its recapture of occupied territories, Russia has recently issued an order to activate its reserve forces with the aim of recruiting 300,000 to support its troops.
Accordingly, with the rush of foreign escapes and anti-war protests, the Russian public is already pushing against conscription.
If the partial mobilization order is expanded in any way without Russia gaining an early landslide, public opinion could spiral out of control.
At the moment, Russia is controlling the unrest by controlling the media and cracking down on demonstrations, but there is concern that a tipping point will come if the war continues.
Thomas Graham, a researcher at the American Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a think tank, said that Putin sees Ukraine as an old territory and a key part of his country, but it is not clear whether Russians agree with the that view.
“If you look at history, Russia was tenacious in defending its territory, but when it came to fighting outside, it had a slightly different attitude,” he said. “Most Russians are not interested in the historical idea that Ukraine is part of Russia. .” he said.
The Wall Street Journal commented on the overall situation that Putin has raised the stakes too much to limit his exit options.
“The real goal of President Putin is to persuade the United States and Europe to feel serious and bring an end to the war,” said Anatol Riven, director of the Eurasian Program at the Quincy Institute in the United States, in an interview with CNN.
“But Russia will not only increase tensions suddenly, forcing the West to react, but will also rule out the possibility of peace for a long time.”
In the end, the Russian campaign for annexation is seen as an alternative threat to the international community to recognize a new border or prepare for a possible nuclear war.
In such a dire scenario, President Putin seems prepared for annexation and a long-term war of attrition.
Russian state television called the war in Ukraine a ‘special military operation’ and refrained from reporting on the war.