By mid-January, the Russian authorities plan to completely close the borders for Russian men under the age of 65. They will then declare martial law in the country and launch a general mobilisation, under which at first 500,000 people may be drafted.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is thinking of repeating his adventure of last year with a full-scale offensive against Ukraine, with the Belarusian army already involved in the fighting. From his bunker, Putin does not count the many casualties of Russian soldiers in the war in Ukraine. Their number already exceeds 110,000 Russians killed according to Ukrainian Government sources. But Putin's behaviour is becoming more and more aggressive. To stop Putin on Ukrainian territory and prevent the Russian army from going any further, Ukraine needs even more military aid from its Western partners.
Putin is trying to persuade the Belarusian dictator Lukashenko to directly join the war against Ukraine. Putin has long dreamed of restoring not only the Soviet Union, but also the Russian Empire. He believes only in war and in a mythical global conspiracy of the civilised world against Russia. His false speculations have led to tragedy for millions of people. Putin cannot allow himself to be defeated in Ukraine and is ready to continue disposing of hundreds of thousands of Russians in war in his insane quest to rebuild the USSR.
With the announcement of a general mobilisation there will be more and more casualties in the Russian army, because the current Russian military model is unable to provide the mobilised troops with the equipment they need to fight. It is moreover no longer correct to compare the technical potential of last year's Russian army with the current one.
In nearly 11 months of war, the Russian invaders have lost almost half of their tanks - over 3,000. The majority of the tanks that were destroyed are the new models, which will not be restored if the current sanctions regime against Russia is maintained. This means that if Russia decides to attack Ukraine again from the territory of Belarus, its entire armoured potential will be close to zero by early 2024.
At the same time, Russian propaganda continues to warm its domestic audience, preparing them for a general mobilisation. Leading Putin propagandists, such as Vladimir Solovyov, urge Russians "not to fear death in war, for they will definitely go to heaven". Russian President Vladimir Putin is also preparing the Russian people for general mobilisation. For the first time in his presidency he delivered his New Year's greeting in front of the Russian military. This was in fact a direct hint to Russian citizens to prepare for the worst, namely a prolonged war with hundreds of thousands of casualties.
Putin is not going to negotiate with Ukraine, much less leave the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine. Having carried out a general mobilisation, he wants to continue the senseless war of attrition for as long as possible. The Russian dictator really intends to fight to the last Russian soldier, who, according to the Russian authorities, must reach not only Kyiv or Warsaw, but also Berlin and Paris no matter the cost. Putin is thus forcing the West to respond to the emerging threat only with force, providing Ukraine with more and more lethal weapons to destroy the Russian army. If Kyiv is not supplied with weapons in the required volume, Russia may extend the war beyond Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia still has huge resources for waging a prolonged war, which it could win. This is the danger for Europe. After all, the slow and metered supply of Western arms to Ukraine is sufficient only for defence, not for an offensive to liberate Ukrainian territories. It is in Ukraine today that the future of all of Europe will be decided and to prevent it from being dragged into the abyss of war. To achieve this, Ukraine needs more weapons.
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