The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues well into its third month as Putin’s forces continue to refocus their efforts on the east of the country having failed to seize Kyiv
Vladimir Putin is reportedly seeking to ‘divide’ the West as the world braces for the Kremlin boss’ next move.
Analysts believe both sides are preparing for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to spill over beyond the battlefield.
This was recently manifested when Putin cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.
This was seen not only as a threat to countries that would help and support Ukraine, but also as a warning to the West about what might happen next.
Now, as the west prepares for Putin’s next move, which could also take place outside the battlefield, the Kremlin boss is trying to force open divisions in the west.
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William Alberque, director of strategy, technology and arms control at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the gas cutoff showed how, for Putin, “every other instrument of power non-military are now in play”.
He said BNC News “Whether trying to curry favor with [Hungarian President Victor] Orban government, trying to help Marine Le Pen win the elections in France or the direct use of the energy weapon in Poland and Bulgaria to try to anticipate sanctions, Vladimir Putin reads the tea leaves and sees that the West is trying to cut oil and gas, and if they move first, they may be able to divide us.
Western leaders were reportedly aware of his efforts to seek political alliances that could help circumvent any sanctions, as they braced for the subsequent impact of any changes in oil and gas supply.
The “energy weapon” of gas and oil supplies that Russia holds over Europe has long been a major sticking point in the ongoing war.
Analysts fear this is what divides the Western approach, with some countries, like Olaf Schulz’s Germany, being much more dependent on it than others.
AFP via Getty Images)
Germany has been widely criticized for its soft approach to Russia that goes back beyond Angela Merkel’s tenure as chancellor.
Now, with the country dependent on Moscow for huge amounts of its oil, gas and coal, it is feared to collapse just as other Western powers step up their efforts to thwart the Putin’s bloody invasion.
Other Eastern European countries are also dependent on Russian gas, posing additional challenges to the response to Putin’s aggression.
Other divisions that Putin has tried, unsuccessfully, to sew, relate to the recent French presidential elections which saw Emmanuel Macron win a landslide victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
But even with a strong France still on the political table to pressure Russia, the Kremlin and the West have embraced a broader battleground beyond Ukraine which has also seen economic measures used to inflict hardship. damage.
However, even amid Russian efforts to weaken the West, the US and UK have recently announced new support measures for Ukraine.
Just this week, US President Joe Biden asked Congress for a £27 billion package in military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Although he has already announced aid to the beleaguered nation, this would mark a significant increase in aid.
“It’s not cheap,” Mr Biden said on Thursday. “But giving in to aggression will cost more if we allow it to happen.”
And yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged additional military aid to Ukraine during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In the appeal, he pledged “continued economic and humanitarian support”, a Downing Street spokesman said.
They added that he was “more determined than ever to strengthen Ukraine and defeat Putin”.
AFP via Getty Images)
In light of this, Russian rhetoric has become increasingly bold in recent weeks, particularly regarding the use of nuclear weapons.
Analysts told NBC that while actual use of weapons of mass destruction remains unlikely, the threat itself has a purpose.
Specifically, he worked “towards the inhibition and [to] limit their decision-making,” as they had to deal with Russian actions on the battlefield and prepare for the impact of choices outside of it.