Updated: May 31
Q: If Putin thought NATO was so dangerous, why would he provoke it? - article by Krister Sundelin for Quora – 02.05.22
A: Let me show you something.
These roads go straight from Kyiv and Charkiv to Moscow. The distance from Kyiv to Moscow is about 900 km. From Charkiv, it is around 850 km. As a comparison, it is 1,800 km from Berlin to Moscow. Also note that the terrain from Ukraine is mostly flat. There are no natural barriers.
This has been drilled into the Russian mindset since basically Charles IX of Sweden and de la Gardie’s campaign and confirmed by Napoleon and Hitler: they are convinced that the only thing which can stop an invader is distance. That is basically still the defence doctrine of Russia.
That has been Putin’s plan for a long time: to put as much ground between the Kremlin and any potential enemy – by which he means anyone not Russian. That’s why you have the wars in Caucasus, that’s why he instigated and/or supported a coup in Belarus, and now, that is why we have a war in Ukraine.
To Putin, it is not enough that Ukraine promises to not enter NATO. Promises can be broken, as he knows way too well. He has after all broken a few himself, including the Budapest memorandum in which Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s borders in exchange for the ex-Soviet nukes in Ukraine. That Ukraine promises to not have any NATO presence now, and that NATO is not interested in having Ukraine as a member now, does not mean that it can change in the future.
That potentially puts NATO forces on an open plain only 850 km from Moscow. That’s just a 12 hour trip in an M1 Abrams, and the open plains are perfect for that kind of armoured advance.
That this was not in NATO’s mind at all is not in Putin’s mind. Of course, he imagines that NATO plans an offensive against Moscow from a future allied Ukraine. That’s what he would do. And that was basically how the US took Baghad in the second Gulf war: a rush along the highways to the capital. Poom, head chopped off, war won in 12 hours.
The only way he can think of to stop it is to make Ukraine Russia. Not just make Ukraine friendly: the Majdan revolution has already shown that a Russian-frendly Ukraine is impossible. The Ukrainians remember all too well the Holodomor genocide in 1932–1933, or the famine in 1946. No, the only solution Putin can see is a final solution: to eradicate Ukraine as a country, language, culture and even memory.
And we know this, because this is what the Russians themselves say will happen to Ukraine if they win. Here is an article in pdf from The Conversation by Susanne Sternthal - Lecturer in Post-Soviet Government and Politics, Texas State University:
In addition, here is an article entitled:
Day 40. What Russia should do with Ukraine - translated and published by Alona / cryptodrftng – Ukrainian Media - April 4, 2022.
This post would not be complete without the article in pdf which we have downloaded from Wikipedia as it is essential to understand the role of Ukraine in WW2:
Here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_collaboration_with_Nazi_Germany
For links to more Wikipedia articles and the chronology of the Russo-Ukrainian wars, click on this link:
The problem is Putin is losing. His elite forces are being churned up in Ukraine faster than he can replenish them, despite the brutality of the Russian army implementing the Ukraine plan. The longer this goes on, the weaker Russia will be. He believes that a lot of it is because of NATO’s aid to Ukraine. He can’t even think that it is as much about Ukrainians knowing what will happen if Ukraine loses.
In his mind, he must keep NATO’s armies away from Ukraine by all possible means. It is a huge gamble: if he goes just a step too far, NATO will roll towards Moskow through Ukraine and from the Baltic countries, and he doesn’t have much defence against them left. At the same time, he cannot afford to lose in Ukraine, because if he does, his western flank against NATO will be wide open, and he imagines that NATO will take every chance there is to make Ukraine a member state. That fear of a possible future has become the fear of a most certain future, and the only thing which can stop it is winning in Ukraine, by any and all possible means.
Putin is getting desperate. He is like a cornered rat now, unpredictable and violent. He has very few cards to play, and one of them is weapons of mass destruction. He knows what happens if he uses them, so in order to not use them, he must scare NATO to not get involved.
And that is why he is constantly threatening with nuclear weapons.
Russia President Vladimir Putin visits the Vostochny cosmodrome in Belarus on April 12, 2022. Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images