Putin unlikely to stop war rampage as he demands ‘respect’

Putin warns about response to UK supplying ammo to Ukraine

Vladimir Putin is facing global condemnation for stationing nuclear weapons in Belarus. The 70-year-old President has been criticised by NATO for his “dangerous” rhetoric with Germany’s foreign ministry spokesperson Andrea Sasse telling reporters in Berlin that the move was “irresponsible” and “escalatory”. Sparks flew earlier this month when the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest. Now, an expert has told Express.co.uk how Putin might have reacted to the news given he is driven by a single determining factor: “A desire for respect.”

Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, were both accused of illegally deporting thousands of children from Ukraine to Russia, predominately from care homes and orphanages.

When asked how he thinks Putin would have reacted to the news that he had been deemed a “war criminal” by the ICC, political scientist and historian Professor Mark Galeotti told Express.co.uk: “One of the big things that motivate Putin is the desire for what he sees as respect.

“Respect for him and respect for Russia. Putin would not have looked at this and thought simply that a bunch of international jurists made a judgement based on the evidence they had.”

It is for these reasons that many believe Putin will not stop what he has started in Ukraine until he gets what he wants, which is thought to be the occupation of at the very least eastern Ukraine.

In retaliation to the news, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to launch a “hypersonic missile” at the court in the Hague with Russia now threatening Armenia that there will be “serious consequences” if it submits to the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Prof Galeotti, who has penned several books about Putin and Russia, continued: “Personally, I have no doubts that he is a war criminal. [But] instead, Putin would have seen this as some kind of plot and a way of them trying to discredit Russia. I’m sure he was furious.

“I don’t think for a moment that he’s personally concerned because it’s not like Putin was planning to go interrailing around Europe… instead, he would have regarded this as another slight against himself and against Russia.”

Putin — who has led Russia for more than 20 years — has long spread the message that he always has the best intentions for Russia at heart. However, he is now considered to be a dictator, having been described as such by the likes of President Joe Biden.

From the moment he came to power, Putin began to assemble his “team”, Andrei Fedorov, former Russian deputy foreign minister explained in an interview last year with NBC, forming what has now become known as the “close circle”.

Putin’s leadership is modelled on that of the Soviet Union where the public, apart from a minority, is encouraged to not meddle with politics and instead submit to the regime.

Ilya Ponomarev, former deputy of Russia’s State Duma who currently lives in exile in Ukraine, told Express.co.uk last month: “The majority of the society would praise whatever leader comes to power… that’s what they have been taught throughout the recent 20 years: ‘just keep aside, politics is not yours et cetera. We need to actually wake them up.”

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and even before then, Putin has peddled the message that Russia and Ukraine are one people. Hence, he has strived to argue that Ukraine is Russia’s for the taking, which again ties into this notion of respect for Russia and its history.

When asked whether he was a killer just nine months before the invasion of Ukraine was launched, Putin chuckled and told NBC: “Look I have heard dozens of such accusations, especially during the period of some grave events.

“And when it happens I’m always guided by the interests of the Russian people and the Russian state.”

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Russians are constantly told that they are under threat from the West with the deputy head of the Russian security council Dmitry Medvedev quoted in the Russian newspaper RBC just this week as saying that the threat of a nuclear conflict has grown.

As Putin’s state of the nation speech given last month showed, he continues to blame the West and Ukraine for the war.

Professor Michael John Williams, a non-resident senior fellow with the Scowcroft Center’s Transatlantic Security Initiative, explains that Putin has long sought to “suppress Russian civil society” and “stifle any attempts to push for reforms on the domestic front.”

And when it comes to Ukraine, he, in a similar vein to Professor Galeotti, believes that Putin sees the contest for Ukraine as tied to Russia’s future.

Writing for the Atlantic Council, he said: “Putin’s growing obsession with Ukraine, which he came to regard as the key battlefield in the ideological struggle for the future of Europe. Viewed from the Kremlin, Ukraine was a contested space where Russian illiberalism was in direct confrontation with liberal democracy.

“The Russian dictator appears to have convinced himself that Ukraine’s embrace of European democracy could eventually prove fatal for Russia itself.”

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