Putin’s NYE address shows he’s unwilling to find a peaceful solution: ISW
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s Eve speech shows he “remains unwilling” to consider a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine, according to a US think tank.
Putin’s annual address illustrated that he “is unsure of his ability to shape the Russian information space and remains focused on justifying war and its costs to his people” 10 months after ordered the invasion of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its most recent report.
In a nine-minute video broadcast on TV as every region of Russia’s time zone counts down the final minutes of 2022 on Saturday, Putin slammed the West for aggression and accused countries of trying to use the conflict in Ukraine to undermine Russia.
Putin said 2022 was “a year of difficult and necessary decisions, important steps towards achieving Russia’s full sovereignty and the powerful consolidation of our society”.
He added that “Russia’s sovereign, independent and secure future depends only on us, on our strength and determination.”
He also said defending the homeland “is our sacred duty to our ancestors and descendants.”
The ISW said the speech continued Putin’s “rhetorical assertions not only that Russia has historical rights over Ukraine, but also that Russia’s independence and sovereignty depend on regaining control of Ukraine.” ‘Ukraine”.
Putin “is thus trying to make victory in the war an essential element for the continued existence of Russia as an independent state”, he said.
Such comments were likely intended to justify the costly war as well as to appeal to the pro-war ultra-nationalist community, the ISW wrote.
But they also indicate that Putin “remains unwilling to consider a meaningful peaceful resolution to the war he started other than on terms he dictates to Ukraine and the West.”
The report adds that the Russian leader is “unlikely to accept a lesser result: unless Ukraine, with the help of Western allies, is able to inflict further large-scale defeats on Russian forces. and liberate more of its territory”.
Putin delivered the speech from the headquarters of the Southern Military District, with uniformed servicemen behind him, “as part of a continuing effort to portray himself as an effective warlord actively controlling the war effort”, said writes the ISW.
He did not use the speech to make an announcement about how Russian forces intend to reverse setbacks in Ukraine and achieve his goals, the report noted.
“The banality of most of the speeches is consistent with previous SIE assessments that Vladimir Putin may have postponed his annual address to the Assembly of the Russian Federation because he was unsure of his ability to shaping the Russian information space amid growing criticism of its conduct of the war,” it said.
Newsweek contacted the Kremlin for comment.