Aleksandr MOROZOV. Will Putin attack in the summer?

The question to be answered is “Will Putin attack in the summer?”. What do I say?

A summer offensive seems to follow from the logic of war, but a summer offensive seems less likely to me now than it did three months ago. The Kremlin has already created for itself a long-term frame for this war: Crimea and four regions are included in the Russian Federation, and the fact that they are not fully captured is irrelevant, because this frame – “Ukronazis continue to hold Russian territories” – will work indefinitely. It is impossible to get out of it.

Let’s keep in mind that the Ukrainians have greatly strengthened their defenses over these months. Plus, Putin understands that in case of a Russian massive offensive, Europe will defend Ukraine; Macron explicitly warned: let’s go in and allow the Ukrainians to transfer the units needed for the front from the Belarusian border and from Western Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the war of rocket attacks and drone attacks continues. It can go on indefinitely. Putin sees that now the United States and Europe are ready to support Ukraine to maintain parity, and the offensive will push for a different scheme. What better time to wait than for Trump’s election, for the development of the plot with Zelensky’s “illegitimacy”, and for Europe and the United States to construct a 50–100 billion dollar allocation to Ukraine. It is still unclear how: through a land-lease, through the creation of a special fund around the interest on frozen Russian assets, or in some other way? The search for a decision is ongoing. And the offensive will push for a solution. But, again, why? Putin has already received his 87%, and on their basis, he needs to continue to destroy something inside the country, create a “new community” with a new Constitution and a new Criminal Code, and focus on exterminating the internal enemy. And wait for the voices to grow louder and louder: give the Russians these four regions and Crimea, and let’s be done with it.

No one will ever agree to this scheme, and the results of the aggression will not be recognized. But the voices will be heard. In the meantime, the shelling will continue, missile construction will be improved, air defense systems will be modernized, and so on. That’s why I think that the idea of surrounding Kharkiv or breaking through the defense in Zaporizhzhia will not be realized this summer. There will be an expectation that we should bomb and bomb, regardless of the outcome. And the main factor is that someone in the military must offer Putin a convincing author’s plan for taking Kharkiv (or occupying Zaporizhzhia), which Putin must accept “under the responsibility of the author”.  It can’t be otherwise. And who is able to offer such a convincing plan now, when the best military minds have been unable to take Avdiivka for six months?

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