Russian President Vladimir Putin is setting conditions for a protracted war of conquest in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War reports.
“Putin compared himself favorably with Russian Tsar Peter the Great by noting that Russia now controls the Sea of Azov, which Peter the Great also fought for. This invocation of Russian imperial history explicitly frames Putin’s current goals in Ukraine as overtly imperialistic and still maximalist. Putin is conditioning Russian domestic audiences to expect a protracted, grinding war in Ukraine that continues to seek the conquest of additional Ukrainian territory,” the report states.
ISW has previously observed that the Kremlin has been setting information conditions for the protraction of the war in Ukraine since the summer following Russian forces’ dismal failures to secure and retain their primary objectives. This informational conditioning is fundamentally incompatible with any discussions regarding a ceasefire or negotiations. It includes the reconstitution of the Russian Empire in some form.
Putin notably is using the Russian HRC as a means to consolidate political power in a way that is fundamentally incompatible with basic principles of international human rights law.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the Russian military seeks an operational pause in winter 2022-2023 to regain the initiative and conduct a counteroffensive in spring 2023, partially supporting ISW’s prior assessment.