Putin’s declared intent at this point is to ensure a “pro-Russian” government in Ukraine, and the only question now is how long the Ukrainians will fight.
Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus said Putin’s aim now is to topple the Ukrainian government, replace it with a pro-Russian regime, control the capital and control everything east of the Dnieper, as well as the southern portion of the country to cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea and connect up with a Russian unit in the eastern part of of Moldova.
Ukrainian forces are overwhelmed, and Russian has complete superiority, says Petraeus, and everything now depends on whether Ukrainian forces surrender or fight.
The former CIA director notes that Ukraine is a vast country for Russia to control, and Putin’s ability to sustain this effort for an extended period of time depends on whether or not the Ukrainians can cut off Russian logistics.
As Russia over-reaches, Petraeus says, the question is how vulnerable will Russia’s supply lines be and how much will Ukrainian forces continue to fight.
So far, the general says, the Ukrainians have managed to knock out a Russian helicopter and some armored vehicles, but it is not yet “crystal clear” how tough the Ukrainian resistance is.
And there will be no more weapons shipments to Ukraine for the time being, with Russia holding air supremacy.
However, there will likely be more reinforcements of front line NATO countries, such as the Baltic states and Poland, with eastern Poland potentially becoming the front line in a new cold war.
Sanctions are going to be massive, targeting Russian banks, Russian oil companies and the oligarchs around Putin.
Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Senator Sherrod Brown said Russia “will pay a major price for this”.
Brown noted that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is “navigating her way through” sanctions against Russian banks. That depends on cooperation from America’s biggest banks, which Brown expects to be forthcoming.
There will be major collateral economic damage. While Europeans will feel a much deeper impact than Americans, American consumers will understand, says Brown.
According to Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, Putin’s claim that his goal is “demilitarization” of Ukraine is a lie.
“Putin has told us for the last two months. He’s told Biden, he’s told Macron, he’s told Schultz, he’s told Johnson that he has no intention of invading Ukraine. He’s lied in consistent and staggering fashion and so tragically for the Ukrainian people. They’re now saying they have no intention to occupy Ukraine but Russia has already said that they consider that the Ukrainian nation is part of Russia. It is very clear that they intend to overthrow this Ukrainian government and they intend to integrate it in some way within a broader Russian structure.”
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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