Mr. Putin appears intent on turning back the clock by more than 30 years. Establishing a broad, Russian-dominated security zone similar to the power of Moscow in Soviet days. Now 69 years old and probably heading towards the end of his political career. He clearly wants to put Ukraine, a country of 44 million people, back in Russia’s orbit.
Less clear is how willing it is to do it by force if the costs are high for Russia, and whether it will be content with Ukraine which is liberal but isolated from Russia.
Russia presented NATO and the United States with a set of written demands in December. In which it was said that it was necessary to ensure its safety. The most important of them is the guarantee. That Ukraine will never join NATO, that NATO reduces its forces in Eastern European countries. who have already joined, and that the 2015 ceasefire in Ukraine is to be implemented. However, Moscow and Kiev sharply disagree on this point. That would mean.
The West rejected the main demands, offering on other concerns and threatening sanctions. Moscow’s aggressive stance has also fueled Ukrainian nationalism. In which civilian militias are preparing a prepared guerilla operation in the event of Russian occupation.
Mr. Putin’s time was President Donald J. Could also be related to the transition from Trump, who was particularly friendly to him and disregarding NATO, to President Biden, who remains committed to the coalition and has a distrust of the Kremlin.
He may want to activate the nationalists on domestic support by focusing on the external threat, as he did before. Mr. Putin has crushed domestic challenges for his authority. But last year, with the economy in decline and the outbreak of the pandemic, opposition groups staged some of the biggest anti-Putin protests in years.