NY Post, Sept. 29, 2022
“Instead of condemning Ukraine to years of warfare and counting on European solidarity in perpetuity, the US should set as its goal Ukrainian victory.”
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to deliver a widely anticipated speech celebrating the annexation of Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation. Its contents have been staring us in the face since before the beginning of the war. Putin is going for broke in Ukraine, and the Biden administration should adjust its strategy accordingly.
On Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, stood and addressed Putin at a meeting of the Russian Security Council. Unsure of himself and veering off topic, Naryshkin committed a revealing blunder when he said, “I support the proposal to include Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in the Russian Federation.”
His words earned an immediate rebuke from Putin, who interrupted, “We’re not talking about that; it’s not what we’re discussing.” Russian forces attacked three days later.
Seven months and tens of thousands of casualties later, Putin is now executing his plan. In Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, Russia carried out sham referendums this week on joining Russia. In true North-Korean style, for example, over 99% of voters in Donetsk voted to join Russia.
As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken put it, “Russia has forced much of the population in areas it seized to flee and compelled Ukraine’s citizens that remained to cast ballots at gunpoint, in fear for their safety, and the safety of their loved ones.”
Why Putin would want to control these areas is self-evident. Together, the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson constitute a land bridge that connects the Russian mainland to the Crimean Peninsula. By annexing them, however, Putin has crossed the Rubicon — a development for which the Biden administration’s strategy for war termination is ill suited. … source