After the annexation of Ukrainian territories: what Russia intends to do with it now
Created: 2022-10-02 16:09
Vladimir Putin addresses the Russian people following the outcome of mock referendums on the annexation of four partially Moscow-controlled regions of Ukraine (September 30, 2022).
© IMAGO/Adrien Fillon / ZUMA Wire
The Russian Constitutional Court confirms the annexation of the four occupied territories.
But what does the Kremlin want to achieve with this?
Moscow - The Ukraine war is apparently entering a new phase.
After Ukraine's successful counter-offensive, the nuclear power Russia started partial mobilization and illegal referendums in occupied territories.
The West took this as a "sign of weakness".
On Friday Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia.
Experts assume that the Kremlin chief is trying to establish the front lines - both politically and militarily.
Russia announces annexation of occupied territories - what's behind it?
With the annexation of the four occupied Ukrainian regions, Russia is using force to move borders in Europe for the first time since annexing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014.
Russia's constitutional court sees no violation of Russian laws in the internationally unrecognized annexation.
According to the state agency TASS, the court in St. Petersburg said on Sunday that admission to the Russian Federation was in accordance with the constitution.
According to experts, the Kremlin chief's aim with this step is to freeze the front lines.
Apparently, Russia is preparing for a long-term conflict.
Moscow assumes that Russia can hold out longer than the western states, security expert Claudia Major told the
on Wednesday .
By means of partial mobilization, Putin is throwing new troops at the front and wants to establish the front line militarily.
Politically, this freezing of the lines was the result of the mock referendums and the annexation of occupied territories in Ukraine, Claudia Major continued.
Russia could then interpret an attack on these areas as an attack on its national territory.
"That would take the conflict to a completely different dimension," said Major.
That's why the sham referendums shouldn't be recognised, demanded the experts.
In fact, nothing has changed for the West, which is why support for Ukraine should continue at least as much as before.
"Weakness can always invite action," Major points out.
Annexation of the four areas could further fuel war
Experts assume that the illegal annexation of the four Ukrainian regions could further fuel the war.
Because parts of the areas are still controlled by Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian flag would oust Russian "pseudo-referendums".
Kyiv reported on Saturday that the city of Lyman in the Donetsk region was recaptured.
Ukraine's goal is to completely liberate the occupied territories with the help of Western weapons.
However, Moscow indicated the complete conquest of the Donetsk region as a minimum goal.
So far, Russian troops control about 58 percent there.
Putin himself justified the annexation with the "protection of the civilian population there".
According to the Kremlin chief, people are threatened by attacks by neo-Nazi fighters - although even Russian soldiers reported that they had not found any Nazis in Ukraine.
Among the people in the occupied territories, Russia advertises "with a historic return to the motherland" and with higher pensions and social benefits than in Ukraine, as dpa reported.
There is no euphoria in Russia like the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The mood is rather depressed this time because, unlike then, there is now a bloody war with thousands of dead.
How do experts assess the probability of a nuclear attack?
Both Putin and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had threatened to use nuclear weapons in an attack on the Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia.
Claudia Major believes that this serves to prevent the West from intervening.
At the same time, it should put pressure on the public, which could lead to a debate about reducing support for Ukraine.
So far, the threats are only rhetorical, said the security expert.
If the use of tactical nuclear weapons were immediately planned, intelligence agencies would see these weapons being deployed.
Russia would derive very little military benefit from such an engagement, but extremely high political and military costs.
"Because the use of an atomic bomb, for the first time since 1945,
would be a fundamental breach of taboo,” said Major.
The USA had made it clear that this would change its role and, from the expert's point of view, there would be strong intervention by Western countries.
Other military experts also commented accordingly.
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The United States considers a Russian use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war to be possible in principle, but currently also sees no signs of an imminent attack of this kind Russian President Vladimir Putin's saber-rattling poses the "risk" that the Kremlin chief might consider such an attack.
At the same time, Sullivan emphasized: “We currently see no evidence of an imminent use of nuclear weapons.” US President Joe Biden’s top security adviser added that the US had been “clear” to Russia about the “consequences” of using nuclear weapons .
Sullivan also said
the US forces in Europe are prepared for all conceivable scenarios.
He referred to US troop increases during the months of the Ukraine war.
Is partial mobilization actually about much higher numbers?
Partial mobilization brought to light many of Russia's problems.
According to a report by war researchers at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), men who did not meet the Kremlin's criteria were recruited.
The new recruits are therefore "not effective" and have "miserable morale".
The soldiers' equipment was also inadequate, it was said elsewhere.
However, the figure of 300,000 new soldiers discussed in the West could underestimate the actual dimensions.
The ISW experts, citing unverified sources, spoke of up to 1.2 million new recruits that Putin wants to send to the war.
The Kremlin chief did not throw the 300,000 reservists into the room, but the Russian Defense Ministry, security expert Major points out.
Many reports would indicate that "significantly more will be conscripted and not just the categories mentioned." On the other hand, new forces are likely to arrive on the Ukrainian side soon.
Ukrainian soldiers are currently being trained in Great Britain and other western countries