Opinion: Desperate Putin will twist, not stick

The combination of recent battlefield defeats and Western resolve — in particular, a realization that Europe can just about get through the winter on its reserves without Russia’s usual energy supply volumes, and Western politicians not wanting to U-turn and admit defeat — has dealt Russia a one-two punch.

Its supposed military strength and its status as an energy superpower to whom Europeans were addicted had been widely, and it turns out wrongly, assumed to be Russia’s strongest assets.

So, Putin, an extremist badly misled by his craven subordinates about Russia’s real abilities, has been forced to ‘twist’ — to continue in the language of cards — to up the ante with his latest nuclear threats (he has been doing it for 15 years), and with his half-hearted, but less politically risky, partial mobilization of supposedly 300,000 reservists.
It is the threat of nuclear weapons use, of course, which makes western decision-makers pause and, in some cases, go wobbly — as it is…

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