The Kremlin has been trying for months to start negotiations with Ukraine and somehow put on hold the Ukrainian counteroffensive. They are trying to hold at least some of the captured ground and prepare for the next offensive. But things are not going as planned for the Kremlin.
Against the background of the claimed «annexation» of the four not completely captured territories of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, Russian troops found themselves encircled in Lyman, Donetsk region. Many understood, including the Russian military leadership, that Russia would not be able to hold the front along the Oskol-Siversky Donets line. Accordingly, hostilities will soon fully return to the so-called «LPR».
At the same time, declaring more of the Ukrainian territories as part of Russia is a diplomatic dead end for Moscow. The Russian government has forever “lost face” because there are practically no grounds for negotiations and bargaining left. Russia is unable to seal full control even of those territories that it has already claimed its own. In addition, much more funds would be required to keep those areas afloat than throughout the eight years of sponsoring the budget-fed Crimea.
Some Russian military officials tried to dissuade Putin from plans to hold to the right bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson region, and suggested it would be better to retreat from Kherson. But the Russian leader snubbed these offers. After all, then he would hardly have been able to declare these territories “Russian.”
At the moment, the Russian army is unable not only to attack, but also to effectively run defensive operations in Donbas and southern Ukraine. The freshly called-up Russian troops will be thrown into the war grinders without proper training. After all, Putin needs this «cannon fodder» immediately to try to save his regime’s prestige.
Today, the Kremlin is blackmailing Ukraine with a massive strike on critical infrastructure (the first missiles hit Ukraine’s energy facilities in early September), as well as with tactical nuclear weapons. But all the same, this won’t help Putin to secure the “acceded” territories. Most likely things will be the opposite – all of the Russian-captured territories will return to Ukraine.