Grim Message from Putin: Aiming Deeper into Ukraine

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.01 - 2024 9:49 AM CET

Photo: 279photo Studio / Shutterstock.com
Photo: 279photo Studio / Shutterstock.com
Grim Message from Putin.

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President Vladimir Putin has committed to intensifying military efforts in Ukraine, with the aim of pushing Ukrainian forces further away to mitigate the risk of attacks on Russian soil. According to several media outlets including Washington Times, this declaration came during a meeting with activists managing his campaign for the upcoming presidential election in March, an election where his victory seems inevitable.

Discussing the military strategy in Ukraine, Putin highlighted the necessity of moving the line of contact further from Russian borders. This strategy is aimed at neutralizing the threat posed by long-range artillery supplied to Ukraine by Western countries, which has been used to target civilian areas within Russia.

Putin emphasized the Russian military's ongoing efforts to repel Ukrainian forces from key population centers, stating this as a primary motivation for Russian soldiers risking their lives on the battlefield — the protection of their homeland and its citizens.

This statement follows recent incidents where Ukraine has launched attacks inside Russian territory, including a notable strike on the city of Belgorod on December 30, resulting in 25 deaths and over 100 injuries.

Furthermore, Putin disclosed findings from Russian investigators alleging Ukraine's use of U.S.-supplied Patriot air defense systems in shooting down a Russian military transport plane in the Belgorod region on January 24, which led to 74 fatalities, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

While Ukrainian officials have not confirmed their involvement in the downing of the plane, they have advocated for an international investigation into the incident, a proposal that Putin insists upon, labeling it a "crime" by Ukraine.

Amid a tightly controlled political environment established over his 24 years in power, Putin's re-election in the March 15-17 vote appears to be a foregone conclusion. With potential rivals either imprisoned or in exile and independent media banned, Putin's continued dominance in Russian politics is almost certain.

Putin also mentioned new territorial gains by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine during the meeting, underscoring the challenging yet pivotal period for Russia's sovereignty and independence.

With the opportunity to seek two additional six-year terms under a constitutional reform, Putin could potentially extend his leadership until 2036, making him the longest-serving leader in the Kremlin since Josef Stalin.

Other presidential candidates include representatives from parties largely supportive of Kremlin policies, alongside Boris Nadezhdin, a local legislator advocating for an end to the conflict in Ukraine and dialogue with the West. Nadezhdin's campaign has garnered significant public support, posing a unique challenge to the Kremlin's tightly managed political scene.

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