Russian President Vladimir Putin has set tough negotiating conditions on the West that are so hard as to be virtually unacceptable. These include the prohibition of Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO and the withdrawal of NATO troops from the alliance’s eastern flank – assesses Ryszard Terlecki, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm.
In his column in “Dziennik Polski,” entitled “Everything is politics. Russia goes to war? ” the head of the PiS club answers the question of whether Russia will attack Ukraine in the coming days or weeks. This is something both politicians and military commanders in Europe and the United States are asking themselves.
As he points out, “The Americans predicted the beginning of a new phase of the conflict in mid-January. Now they have recognized a two-three-week delay due to the mild winter in the east: unfrozen ground will hinder the movement of tanks.”
“Ukraine is getting ready to repel the attack, and the latest information talks about groups of commandos transferred to the occupied areas of eastern Ukraine, who are to be used appropriately for provocation on a temporary border, and this would become a pretext for a Russian attack,” he adds.
What are the plans of the president of Russia?
What is Putin up to? To occupy all of Ukraine, or at least its eastern part to the Dnieper, with the necessary attack on Kyiv? It is unlikely, he assesses.
Other variants possible
In his opinion, other variants are possible: the intention to directly attach to Russia the areas around Donetsk and Lugansk with some minor expansion at the expense of Ukraine; permanent deployment of troops in Belarus; bringing about a political turning point in Kyiv.
Or is it just a bluff? Putin set tough negotiating conditions for the West, so tough as to be virtually unacceptable. These include the prohibition of Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO, as well as the withdrawal of NATO troops (primarily American) from the eastern flank of the alliance (probably including Poland),” writes the head of the PiS club.
Terlecki also says:
“Perhaps Putin hopes that the weak administration in Washington will yield to this pressure and allow Russia to achieve another political success. And this is Western Europe (mainly Germany) that will be welcomed with delight, will hastily launch Nord Stream 2, and happily become even more dependent on Russian gas supplies. If Putin just wanted to scare the West, the classic war against Europe would not be the threat, but the policy pursued on its brink still carries a serious risk. And what is important to us: it will maintain the threatening tension at our eastern border.”
“Russia still has too few troops at the border with Ukraine. The losses during such an operation would have to be enormous. The international reaction is difficult to predict, which does not mean that Russia cannot implement such a crazy idea,” he says. Continuing, “The second possible option is a limited attack along the coast, on Mariupol, towards Crimea and the cut off of Ukraine from the Sea of Azov, which the Russians now control,” continues Terlecki.
In Terlecki’s opinion, “Such a ‘small’ war would mean heavy fights with the Ukrainian army, one of the largest in Europe at the moment. A further march along the Black Sea shore towards Odessa would actually be the same as the first option. The benefits from territorial gains would not offset the scale of the sanctions that Russia would face, at least for some time.”