Dr Mark Galeotti, author of Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine, says the announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Kherson essentially marks a ‘new phase in the war’ and, in a statement to Sky News, lists the options left to the Russian President. and what it is likely to do.
According to the expert, currently Putin “no longer tries to win [războiul] on the battlefield” and just trying to “avoid losing it.
The Russian president is now betting that the West will eventually withdraw its support for Ukraine, believing it to be too costly, says Galeotti.
Vladimir Putin thinks the West is “ultimately weak and unable to stay focused”, he said – so the plan is to let the war “go on for as long as it takes”.
If that fails, Galeotti said the Russian leader is “virtually locked in” and has few other options.
The Russians have raised the prospect of negotiations, but currently there does not seem to be common ground between the two sides, so these talks are “useless”.
Then there is the option of escalation, such as the use of a tactical nuclear weapon, but Mark Galeotti doesn’t think Putin is considering that.
Another choice would be surrender – which would mark the end of Vladimir Putin’s career.
“Between the two, there is nothing left but to continue,” said the expert, adding that it was “very difficult to see a way out of this situation”.