Putin’s Potential Ukraine Moves

Putin’s Potential Ukraine Moves The Ukrainian situation might be a case of “go big or go home”. 

There’s a chance, maybe 50%, that all of this is posturing by Putin to gain leverage for the West to do things he wants (guarantee Ukraine does not join NATO, etc.).

If an invasion occurs, there is really no incentive for Putin to make a small grab – as soon as Russian troops make any grab in Ukraine, there is a high probability it will trigger sanctions from the West; give than he would get sanctions whether he just bites off the Donbass, at that point he may as well go big.. in that case he gets penalized but he at least gets some real benefit. 

The scenarios I see as most likely are (a) invade Ukraine and capture then annex everything east of the Dnieper river (a nice natural border) or (b) go for all of Ukraine in a short, violent campaign modeled on the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In scenario (a) he gets the industrial east of Ukraine with a nice natural border. Furthermore, reduces Ukraine to a rump state that is both weak and easy to intimidate/manipulate. In addition, has less of a problem with occupation since the most anti-Russian areas of Ukraine are in its west. 

Ukraine Russia War 2022

If Putin goes for the whole thing, then he gets the whole country including the key port of Odessa; the occupation would be a lot longer, more difficult to pull off. And costly but it would be a massive strategic win by eliminating a border state. And turning it into a buffer. Would also set him up for devouring Belarus in a few years once things had calmed down in occupied Ukraine.

Moreover, even if Ukraine becomes a neutral Switzerland-like nation. Putin may still want to snuff out a Democracy on his doorstep. If China were to base defensive weapons at a Chinese radar base on Cuba or Venezuela, would America object?

Putin’s Potential Ukraine Moves