A victory for President Putin is looking more and more unlikely, as Ukrainian forces have reclaimed more than 2,000 miles of their territory and driven many Russian troops into retreat. After losing an estimated 80,000 soldiers, Putin enacted a draft, prompting young men to flee to neighboring countries to avoid conscription.
Russia is also annexing four occupied regions in Ukraine and holding a staged referendum, with reports that some people have allegedly been forced to vote at gunpoint. The Nord Stream pipeline, carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe, also leaked this week, rousing suspicions of a possible sabotage. This hour we’ll talk about President Putin, his options as the war turns against him and how he might face the prospect of losing.
Michael Kimmage, professor of history at Catholic University and fellow at the German Marshall Fund. He served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State from 2014-2016, where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. His forthcoming book is, The Decline of the West: An American Story. @mkimmage
Foreign Affairs, Putin’s Next Move in Ukraine – “For the first time in the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin must contend with the serious prospect of losing it.”
The Atlantic, Russia’s Nuclear Threats Are All Putin Has Left – “Although Putin may be willing to take greater risks as the military situation in Ukraine deteriorates, he likely knows now that the cumulative effect of his multiple blunders in Ukraine has been to jeopardize the stability of his regime and the Russian Federation itself.”
The New York Times, ‘Putin Is a Fool’: Intercepted Calls Reveal Russian Army in Disarray – In phone calls to friends and relatives at home, Russian soldiers gave damning insider accounts of battlefield failures and civilian executions, excoriating their leaders just weeks into the campaign to take Kyiv.