“If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.” These words pronounced by Putin to European Commission President Barroso and reported during last Saturday’s summit made blood run cold in the EU members veins.
The Kremlin’s policy in Ukraine keeps for months Europe under attack, and for many this is the demonstration of western against Russia. However, it could also be the clearest demonstration of the weakness of Putin.
If Putin took the Crimea in a few days (as it was) and really could get to Kiev in two weeks (as it might be), then why the Kremlin is embroiled in a proxy war in Donbass that has not brought any advantage so far? The Ato, the Kiev anti-terrorist operation to regain power in the eastern provinces under the control of the separatists, has scored one success after another in the last two months, since the presidency of Poroshenko and the turnover of military heads gave new impetus. Novorossija, the federation of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, has turned into a Nanorossija whose boundaries barely coincide with the outskirts of the two cities. Moreover, while the military involvement of Moscow makes every day more obvious and difficult to deny (as it had been in the Crimea with the “little green men”), beyond some victories scored in the last days, the separatist forces are a step away from defeat. Putin sent a few thousand paratroopers in a maskirovka operation on the shores of Azov sea, but he would need more than that to reverse the outcome of the conflict. The truth is probably that Russia cannot invade Ukraine.