Facing resistance in Ukraine Putin turns to a familiar playbook

Facing resistance in Ukraine Putin turns to a familiar playbook

A U.S. administration official said last week that the U.S. is worried that the Russians were making this claim “to justify a false-flag operation” or to use “chemical or biological weapons” themselves.

Regardless, it’s clear to most that Putin’s original game plan has shifted dramatically. It’s not clear what his end goal now is.

Most experts in the West believe Putin expected to roll into Kyiv and topple the government relatively unopposed while expending as little blood and treasure as possible.

In reality the Russian military has suffered an unknown number of casualties, and social media has been awash with videos of its tanks either destroyed or abandoned and being towed away by smiling Ukrainians on tractors.

War studies experts are mystified at how Russia’s imperious air force has been unable to control Ukraine’s skies, or complement its land assault with effective, coordinated cyberattacks.

Instead Putin has resorted to the blunt instrument of trying to bomb Ukraine into submission, according to Bronk and other experts.

Cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol have been deafened by the sound of air-raid sirens and shelling; the World Health Organization says Russia has bombed 18 hospitals and other medical facilities; and an estimated 3 million people have fled, half of them children.

It is difficult to see how Putin’s stated goal of regime change will work if he has leveled his new satellite state, Bronk said.

“I would suggest that their original goals are now completely unattainable,” Bronk said. Instead he sees the relentless bombing as a way to put pressure on Ukraine and the West to accept a cease-fire that allows the Kremlin to consolidate its gains.

“From there, they can organize rigged referenda in the areas they control — and potentially push forward again when they’re ready.”

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