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Down is the gist of his story:
Putin’s plan to capture 12 Ukrainian oblasts and set up the Novorossiya republic from Donbas to TransNistria has failed.
Despite West’s pressure on Ukraine to burden the responsibility for the rebel-held territories in Donbas, Poroshenko withstood the pressure, saying Ukraine is not responsible for what’s going on there.
The only thing remaining for Putin is harboring desperate plans for a military escalation like the capture of Mariupol or a land corridor to Crimea.
However, the West has given Moscow a clear message as to this: toughening of sanctions and giving lethal weapons to Ukraine.
If, however, Putin scraps his plans of military escalation, he could be blamed for a serious foreign policy pratfall.
Putin’s buddies won’t tolerate the military escalation as it will mean the loss of billions of their dollars and Putin’s downfall.
On the other hand, Putin’s defeat in Ukraine will make him a sole culprit in the eyes of his buddies.
For Putin’s entourage the best option would be to wash their hands of Putin and patch up the relations with the West.
Piontkovsky predicts the situation will be clear within a few weeks.
Moscow may try and stage a massive provocation, tempting Ukrainians to launch a major offensive that will put the blame on Ukraine for escalating the war.
If Kyiv is seen as a culprit of war, the West will be unlikely to apply tougher sanctions against Moscow.
Putin’s successor may be his administration chief-of-staff Serhej Ivanov. The latter is giving out peaceful interviews, hinting that he may be a constructive partner for the West.
Will Putin’s downfall change Moscow’s policy? Definitely so, although the same kind of scoundrels will come to power,” Piontkovsky says.
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