Russian Elite Divided on Strategy in Ukraine but Not on Kremlin Goals There, Minic Says
Vladimir Putin is not a military strategist, and the decision to shift Russian forces from around Kyiv to the southeast in order to be in a position to defeat the Ukrainian army rather than go all out to achieve regime change now in Ukraine shows that, Dmitri Minic of the Paris Institute for International Relations says.
In his earlier remarks, the French expert says, Putin appeared to favor going for Kyiv but his military hasn’t been able to occupy that city and so he has agreed to those who argue for seeking victory by destroying the Ukrainian army in the field first.
“The Russian army has not been defeated,” Minic continues. “It has suffered a shock and has been forced to change its strategy, but nothing has ended. In Russia, the spring draft has begun; and possibly the new soldiers will be sent to Ukraine especially to perform logistical tasks.”
Moreover, he says, unless Ukraine makes significant concessions such as recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and the independence of the Donbass “republics” and accepting neutral status, “the Kremlin will not stop the war,” and whatever differences on strategy there are in the elite will not change that.
“Putin is the epitome of the Russian military-political elites. He has a very hostile vision of the world,” one that involves elements of conspiracy thinking. He is extremely self-confident in his judgments, something that coexists with his awareness of Russia’s weakness and his fears that Russia could be quickly destroyed.