(Moscow) The much-anticipated conversation between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will take place via video conference on Tuesday in the wake of growing tensions between the two countries. When this announcement is made Washington Post Russia announced on Friday that it was planning an attack on Ukraine in early January.
Tensions are high between Russia and the West. The Ukrainian government, largely backed by NATO, fears an attack by Russian troops stationed on the border for weeks.
Recall that Ukraine was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from the 1920s to 1991. Part of the south and east of the country is traditionally populated by Russians.
Since 2014, Ukraine has been torn apart by a civil war that has established more than 13,000 lives between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in the east. These are informally supported by Russia, explains Pierre Jolichur, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada who specializes in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Russia’s foreign policy.
The conflict began in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in the south of the country. At the time, Russia was hoping to join other parts of Ukraine, explains Pierre Jolikovar. “I think Vladimir Putin overestimated his ability to mobilize the Russian people in Ukraine and underestimated Ukraine’s military capability in the East. [à l’époque] », He analyzes. Russia has been targeted by international sanctions since the annexation of Crimea.
Imposition of Moscow mobilization
Friday The Washington Post Russia plans a military offensive in Ukraine with 175,000 troops by January. A senior U.S. official told the Daily, anonymously, that it was preparing to launch “100 battalions and tanks, artillery and other equipment made up of tactical teams with an estimated strength of 175,000.”
“There has been a tense situation at the gates of Ukraine for several weeks,” he confirmed. We were talking about 100,000 people, but here, if we talk about 175,000 people, it seems like more than the last mobilization. [militaires de la Russie]. ⁇
In the wake of this explosive situation, Mr Biden said on Friday that the United States was preparing an “initiative” that “it is very difficult for Mr Putin to do what people fear.” Agencies France- Press.
For its part, Moscow is calling for “security guarantees” to ease tensions. In particular, the Kremlin is asking for assurances that NATO forces will not continue to expand in eastern Ukraine.
It is in this context that Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will meet on Tuesday at the Virtual Summit.
Russia: Big speaker, small act?
This is not the first time in the past year that Russia has violated the Ukrainian border. Moscow has repeatedly denied its militant intent and accused Western nations of increasing “provocations”, especially by conducting military exercises in the Black Sea, where Russia regards its territory, Agencies France-Emergency.
Last spring, Vladimir Putin already carried out military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border to alarm the West.
According to many experts, Pierre Jolikovar explains that “Russia is trying to attract the attention of Vladimir Putin to show that he is still a leading player in the international arena.” It was also a way to test Joe Biden’s new administration and get one-on-one interviews with the U.S. president. “What did he get,” the professor says.
The Kremlin’s intentions are not clear at this time, however, and Jolieguer observes. This increase in military presence may be a way of reminding us of Russia’s importance internationally, the professor argues, as the United States has been focusing more on China recently.
“Another hypothesis is that Russia is exploiting inattention [de l’Occident]. If the focus is on the Chinese Ocean, it could be an opportunity for Moscow to gain points, ”he analyzes.
One last possibility: Vladimir Putin may want to restore Russia to its former glory. “Putin is probably preparing to step down, and he wants to prepare for his legacy when he leaves power,” said Pierre Jolichur.
Expert says he would be surprised if the Kremlin attacked in Ukraine. “But Vladimir Putin has been able to surprise us many times, he notes. So this is not impossible.”
With Agencies France-Press