Russian President Vladimir Putin in fresh remarks before a national policy advisory body has said that Russia has humbled the West and remains undefeated, after over a year-and-a-half of the Ukraine war, and after the NATO’s military and intel involvement has only deepened.
Putin asserted that Western nations are slowing changing their perspective: “They are changing their tune now, saying different things,” the Russian leader told a conference of the Civic Chamber on Friday, according to a translation in state-funded media.
He held this out as encouragement that Russia must continue on its path of strengthening all aspects of society, especially on the economic and military levels. “They (EU nations) excluded our energy. So what? What is the result? Our GDP will grow [up to] 3% this year, and the leading European economies are shrinking,” he said in the speech.
“They suffer; they have real problems,” he pointed out, with the caveat: “This doesn’t mean that we should behave aggressively. It means we must be sovereign in every sense of the word.”
The Biden administration has been open since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine about wishing to “weaken” Russia and to ultimately inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia.
On Thursday, the US had unveiled a new round of anti-Moscow sanctions, which as Reuters describes “targeted Russia’s future energy capabilities, sanctions evasion and a suicide drone that has been a menace to Ukrainian troops and equipment, among others, in sanctions on hundreds of people and entities.”
The Kremlin has dismissed the move, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying, “This is a continuation of the policy of inflicting as they call it – a strategic defeat on us.” She then emphasized, “They will have to wait in vain forever before that happens.”
Meanwhile, the Atlantic Council in a new position paper is warning NATO allies that “Putin will win unless the West finally commits to Ukrainian victory”:
These factors mean there is currently little incentive for Putin to end the war. Indeed, any outcome other than an unambiguous Russian military victory would likely lead to uncomfortable questions being asked regarding the sacrifices Russians have made since the start of the invasion. From Putin’s point of view, it is far better to maintain a long-term conflict in Ukraine with the prospect of increasingly favorable circumstances.
The hawks are worried that if more isn’t urgently done to support Kiev, including sending more advanced weaponry and billions more in defense aid, Putin will have his victory. But what’s so far been very clear is that Ukraine’s offensive has been stopped and pushed back no matter the many billions spent.