Editorial There are cold times ahead as Russia increases tensions

Many directions in which Russia has been active have been overshadowed by the migration crisis created by Belarus. The most significant of these is Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin again presented his own theory of the Polish-Belarusian border migration crisis when he addressed a Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

According to Putin, the background is the West’s efforts to increase tensions in the region near Russia and put pressure on the Belarusian leadership.

Few are surprised by Putin’s theories, in which Belarus is the victim and Russia is the actual target of the dichotomous West. There is also nothing new about Putin claiming that Russia is both isolated and involved. So everything can be denied if necessary, possibly by striking the eye at the same time.

However, the migration crisis created by Belarus is overshadowed by many directions in which Russia is now increasing tensions. The most significant of these is Ukraine.

Russia has again relocated significant amounts of its troops near the Ukrainian border. Russia last did so in the spring, but this time the escalation of the war in eastern Ukraine is considered much more likely than before. The United States has already warned it sees Russia’s attack as a real possibility. In Russia’s internal propaganda, talk of Ukraine has intensified, as have the country’s demands on Ukraine.

At the same time, pro-Western developments in Georgia in the South Caucasus have clearly taken a back seat, and Russia is not without it. Clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia have escalated again, and Russia, armed on both sides, has become a peacemaker. Russia has also increased its activity in the Western Balkans. In the West, Russia is trying to confuse societies with anti-vaccine propaganda.

Within Russia, the country’s leadership emphasizes confrontation with the West. It justifies the ever-increasing repression, a recent example of which is the threat of closing down the human rights organization Memorial.

Russian the main target in Ukraine is likely to be destabilization and signaling rather than attack, but one cannot be sure.

Anyway, the situation is favorable for Russia to be able to remind itself. Germany is changing government, France is preparing for the presidential election, and the U.S. leadership is most focused on Asia. At the same time, it is possible to prepare for discussions between the leaders of the United States and Russia. Preparations are ongoing.

Putin gave a hint on these talks on Thursday when he demanded “security guarantees” from the West and said the West would not take Russia’s warnings seriously not to cross its “red lines”. These talks are now particularly relevant to Ukraine, as Russia suspects increased military cooperation between Ukraine and the West. Of course, Russia does not admit that it can also be attributed to Russia’s own actions, but accuses the West of pushing into Russia’s borders.

In the west be careful not to see Putin as a skilled and cunning chess master who succeeds in everything. Of course, that is not the case, even if Putin wants the West to believe so. After all, he doesn’t even get his subordinates to take the coronavirus vaccine he advertised. Everything you see now may not be the same plan.

Nor is the authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, necessarily in complete control of Putin, even though Putin’s grip is tight and tightening all the time.

The situation should not be underestimated. Russia is dissatisfied with the current European security order and is working to change it. According to the country’s leadership, the West has started a war against Russia’s interests, and this justifies Russia’s own actions. Some of them are hard, some are rancers, some are something else. There is also a risk of damage and misunderstandings, the probability of which increases as the voltage increases.

Russia is now working to strengthen the confrontation. There are cold times ahead.

The editorials are HS’s statements on a topical issue. The writings are prepared by HS’s editorial staff and reflect the magazine principle.

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