Putin’s bets in attempt to halt supply of Western weapons to Ukraine

Putin’s bets in attempt to halt supply of Western weapons to Ukraine

Since the outset of the full-scale invasion, one of the key Russian narratives has been as follows: “The more the West supplies weapons to the Kyiv regime, the longer the war lasts.”

Naturally. After all, what had begun before February 24, 2022, from the “victorious” “Kyiv in two to three days,” as of the end of September 2023, turned into a regular “exposing nuclear claws” after each of the increasingly tangible strikes by Ukraine’s Defense Forces on Russian military facilities and after each announcement by Western partners to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine with new, more powerful weapons. The most recent one was about Abrams tanks with depleted uranium rounds, ATACMS missiles, and F-16 fighter jets.

The violent hysteria spread by propagandists is accompanied by the whining of Russia’s envoy to the UN, Mr Nebenzia, about the need for a “monthly discussion in the UN of how the supply of Western weapons to Kyiv affects the prospects for resolving the conflict.”

Interestingly, in June, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that one of the goals of the special operation (demilitarization of Ukraine) had been achieved.

Putin claimed that the Ukrainian military-industrial complex had been effectively destroyed. That is why the Kremlin’s narrative “as long as the West supplies Ukraine with weapons, the bloody war will continue” has gained such weight.

To promote it, the following is being done:

1.  Drawing regular “red lines,” starting with the supply of Bayraktars and Javelins (early into the full-scale invasion) and continuing with HIMARS, Patriots, Leopards, etc. Now these lines stretch to the F-16 fighters, ATACMS, and Taurus missiles.

2.  Throwing regular “diplomatic” tantrums by Nebenzia (at the UN), Putin (at any opportunity in Russia because he does not travel anywhere), or Lavrov (on what’s left of his international platforms: mainly in the eastern or African directions);

3. Spreading lies about the inability of Western weapons to oppose the Russian “one-of-a-kind arms” (for example, the claim that the Patriot system can’t cope with the Kinzhal missile).

4. Spinning “victorious” ballads about the destroyed Leopard tanks. Before that, Putin had already blatantly “destroyed” “five Patriot systems at once” in Ukraine; and earlier, it was about an epic battle with the HIMARS (with “war reporters” recognizing the defeat).

5.  Spreading blatant lies in relation to the “affected Western equipment,” commissioned by the state.

6.  Inventing propaganda heroes fighting against Western hardware, such as the crew of the Alyosha tank.

7.  Running disinformation campaigns regarding the alleged shady sale of Western weapons by Ukrainians. In July last year, the Russians, for example, discussed HIMARS being sold even on an e-trade platform, such as OLX.

8.  Using both foreign mouthpieces of Russian propaganda and “useful idiots” with catchy historical names like Bismarck, Kennedy, and de Gaulle, bringing Russian narratives to the Western audience, including on the cessation of arms supplies to Ukraine.

9.  Promoting the statement that only the U.S. military-industrial complex, which receives surplus profits, takes advantage of the war in Ukraine. The ex-host of Fox News, a Russian propaganda favorite Tucker Carlson, says similar things (Mother Jones magazine in mid-March published “the Kremlin’s guide for Russian media,” which called on them to “make the most fragments of Carlson’s show”).

At the end of January, he said that “the beneficiaries of the U.S.-Ukraine-Russia war are the American military-industrial complex.”

10.  Driving a wedge between the U.S. and the EU. Allegedly, Europeans give their weapons to Ukraine, but have to pay their taxes to the Americans for U.S. weapons.

11. Speculating on the fact that ordinary Europeans, allegedly, suffer terribly from continued assistance to Ukrainians (including from arms supplies) and are forced to give up on almost everything they have for this (for example, Germans).

12. Emphasizing the weakening of the defense capabilities of European countries (“empty warehouses,” “tanks are drawn from museums,” etc.).

13.  Spreading stories about the inadmissibility of Ukraine using depleted uranium rounds or cluster munitions.

14.  Blocking the provision of new assistance packages to Ukraine within the EU/NATO at the right time (with the help of Hungary, for example).

15. Blackmailing the world with show-off meetings with Kim Jong-un (and hints at a possible exchange of Korean ammunition for Russian nuclear and missile technology) and continued semi-concealed cooperation with Iran (nuclear programme and aircraft).

16.  Threatening a nuclear attack (including calls for “strikes on Poznań”)

17.  Activating the Belarusian factor with the right timing, along with the provision of tactical nuclear weapons and threats of the Wagnerites “taking a trip” to Rzeszów. Local propagandist Azaronok threats “raping” Ursula von der Leyen,” and Shpakovsky --“striking Rzeszów.”

18. Spreading the topic of corruption regarding the supply of weapons, bulletproof vests, equipment, UAVs, and trucks, as well as fundraisers (this covers the efforts of volunteers, Ministry of Defense, field commanders, Western companies with ‘unfulfilled but paid-for orders’), etc.

19.  Comparing the use of German Leopard tanks against the Russian occupiers with the invasion of the USSR by Hitler’s panzer force (which is expected to put modern Germans to shame and sow doubts among them).

20. Accusing the Ukrainian Defense Forces of using Western weapons against civilians, as well as for attacks directly targeting Russian soil.

Therefore, all of this, according to the Kremlin’s plan, should encourage Europeans and Americans to exert pressure on the authorities in their countries demanding the cessation of further assistance to Ukraine.

This formula was voiced by Putin in June this year: “Stopping the military conflict in Ukraine = stopping the supply of weapons from the West.”

The Kremlin’s bet is simple: if the West breaks (economically, politically, informationally, and psychologically) and stops helping Ukraine, Putin has won. He doesn’t respect the weak. And so the war will continue. But it will already be unfolding in the West.

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