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[LISTEN] Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine – What Does Putin Really Want?

Staff Writer

Vladimir Putin, on Thursday, ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, after promising not to do so in the preceding days, and supposedly choosing only to recognize the breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. So far, over 130 Ukrainian’s have been killed, with around 6 Russian aircraft downed, as Moscow’s troops already entered parts of Kiev. The US, together with the EU and UK have strengthened sanctions targeting Russian banks and members of Putin’s inner circle; however, all have refused to send in troops to directly confront Russia. Further, Moscow continues to be allowed to use the SWIFT banking system, enabling its economy to partially function.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, both Dr Mohammed Kojak and Dr Scott Lucas argued that this was a miscalculation by Putin, and that this was likely counter-productive. Lucas said, “Going beyond that line, going beyond the area that Russia already actually pretty much controls is going to be too much… it can be too much costly for Russia, because Russia will face resistance from the Ukrainian government.” Kojak, meanwhile, added, “Moscow will also face much harsher sanctions and therefore, it’s going to be counterproductive for Russia, because Russia actually wants to use this as a bargaining chip to renegotiate its interest with the United States over Ukraine and Europe.” Lucas said, “The problem with his gamble is that the US, Europe and other countries have rallied. They have come back at him and they now come back at him and say, all right, your move. Do you want even more sanctions? And I think Putin’s got himself box. I think he could go ahead with the invasion, because I think he is committed to this idea of having a legacy in which you, crane is part of greater Russia, but if he does, so he is going to incur greater cost.”

Kojak argued that the offensive in Ukraine was about security, while Lucas asserted that it was about economics, and that even if Moscow succeeded, it would lose, as the provinces it couldn’t control would move even closer toward the EU and West. Significantly, Lucas asserted that Putin was a bad strategist, but a good tactician, and that deploying the amount of troops Moscow had, had boxed him in.

Last, they both concurred that Ukraine was in a difficult position, especially since it was unlikely that it would be allowed to join NATO. However, Lucas argued that Putin’s moves were a miscalculation, in light of the speed of the sanction’s enactment, that it has brought the West closer instead of playing on its divisions as Putin sought. Further, according to Lucas, it was significant that China condemned the move, arguing in favour of Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” China’s official statement is  that all countries are sovereign and that includes Ukraine and that’s sort of a slap at Russia for trying to break up the country.”

It was also argued that Moscow’s next steps would be a cost-benefit analysis, and that the larger problem was one of continued unity between Western states, especially since their economies would be differently impacted by further sanctions on Russia.

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