Home » Ukraine-Russia war latest: French and German leaders say Ukraine allowed to strike inside Russia

Ukraine-Russia war latest: French and German leaders say Ukraine allowed to strike inside Russia

By Sean Bell, military analyst

President Putin knows that his critical vulnerability is Western military capability, and that should the West become directly involved in the defence of Ukraine, Russia’s objectives would no longer be achievable.

As a result, Russia continues to augment its military strategy in Ukraine with targeted rhetoric and information operations designed to deter Western governments from increasing military support to Ukraine.

As Mr Putin’s concerns have mounted, the rhetoric has become more inflammatory, leading to more regular rattling of the nuclear sabre.  

You can listen more about this on Bell’s RedMatrix podcast

However, Mr Putin is also well aware that a nuclear war would have no winners; the concept has been described as MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction. 

If the strategy succeeds and the West is deterred from protecting a nation from Russian aggression, where does that leave Russia’s wider “empire” ambitions – and China’s too?

This past week, Russia chose to remind the world that it had developed the most powerful and longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile – called SATAN II – which can deliver nuclear weapons to almost any point on the Earth’s surface. 

Russia routinely uses the threat of escalation as a weapon of war.  No civilised country wants to go to war, and reminding nations of the potential consequences of an escalation is a powerful deterrent.

However, history shows that there are times when people need to make choices if they are to preserve their way of life and the values they cherish. 

A utopian world where all nations live in peace might have enduring appeal, but the harsh reality is that there are always those that will seek to capitalise, to build empires, and provoke major conflicts. 

The omnipresent challenge is when to confront such tyrants, and history suggests the earlier, the better.

Mr Putin knows that his battle-worn forces would be no match for Western air and land power, so is using all the tools at his disposal to deter greater Western engagement. And, that strategy appears to be working. 

However, if the West decides not to call Mr Putin’s bluff and accepts Russia’s aggressive expansion, where next?