Expert Has No Doubt: Putin is Bluffing

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.04 - 2024 2:25 PM CET

'Putin is Bluffing'

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According to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, the massive air raids on Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday night were an act of 'revenge'.

However, this explanation is nonsensical, say two experts.

"It's a bluff," says retired Norwegian Lieutenant General Arne Bård Dalhaug to Dagbladet.

Tom Røseth, who teaches intelligence at the Norwegian Defence College, describes Putin's portrayal of the attacks as 'absurd theater'.

Putin's statement came on Monday, two days after Ukraine attacked the Russian city of Belgorod near the border using drones and missiles. Russian authorities claim 24 were killed, including civilians, and Putin subsequently promised that the attack, which he called 'terrorism', would be avenged.

But why should Putin's words be 'bluff' and 'absurd theater'?

According to the Norwegian experts, who have closely followed the war between Russia and Ukraine from the start, the subsequent and violent Russian air strikes on Ukraine are indistinguishable from what we have seen earlier in the war.

The attacks on Kyiv and Kharkiv on Tuesday night, which caused significant destruction and loss of life, were very similar to Russian attacks last winter targeting Ukrainian civil infrastructure, points out Arne Bård Dalhaug.

Those attacks caused repeated disruptions to water and power supplies during the harsh winter.

Tom Røseth adds that the day before Ukraine's attack on Belgorod, Russia conducted the largest air raid on Ukraine since the war broke out in February 2022. At least 31 people were killed and over 160 injured.

Both he and Arne Bård Dalhaug believe that the Ukrainian attacks are in accordance with the provisions of international law, unlike the Russian ones. Hence, Røseth calls Putin's statement about 'revenge' 'absurd theater'.

The objective of the Ukrainian attacks, according to the experts, is twofold. They aim to hit Russian military targets and remind the Russian public that a war is ongoing.

Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can to make Russians believe that everything is normal and to shield his own population from the war.