16:54 16.07.2021

Putin's article addressed not to Ukrainians, but to world leaders – political expert

3 min read

KYIV. July 16 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The article of Russian President Vladimir Putin "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians" is addressed not to Ukrainians, but to world leaders as a demonstration that the Russian Federation intends to maintain its control over Ukraine, Head of the Ukrainian Politics Foundation, historian, political analyst Kost Bondarenko has said.

"For the past six months Russia has been developing a new concept of stepping up its activities in relation to Ukraine. It is obvious that this article was not addressed to Ukrainians and the political elite of Ukraine, although it was duplicated in the Ukrainian language. It is addressed to world leaders to show its intention to maintain its control over Ukraine," Bondarenko said at a roundtable talk entitled "Synergy of external, internal challenges for Ukraine. When is to expect turning point?" hosted by Interfax-Ukraine.

According to expert of Hardarika Strategic Consulting Corporation Kostiantyn Matviyenko, "Ukraine remains a strategic goal amid Russia's weakening position in Asia."

"Russia was ousted from the South Caucasus. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan poses a big problem for Russia in Central Asia, from where it will most likely also leave. Kazakhstan is rather severely restricting Russian influence on its territory. The Anschluss of Belarus is almost complete. Now Ukraine remains a strategic goal for Russia and this is a challenge for us," Matviyenko said.

As Board Chairman of the Penta analytical center Volodymyr Fesenko said, "the article of the Russian president is a conceptual basis and foundation for at least an ideological attack on Ukraine."

"Putin's article is an alarming sign, since Putin is already beginning to think about what to do with Ukraine. What he did in 2014 did not work, after that there were bets on the concentration of pro-Russian forces in the person of Medvedchuk, but this did not work either. In the first half of 2021, after the NSDC sanctions against Medvedchuk and the closure of his channels, we saw the weakening of pro-Russian forces and the strengthening of Zelensky's power. I think it came as a surprise to Putin. Russia is now thinking about what to do with Ukraine," the expert said.

In turn, Bondarenko said that "the offensive against Ukraine may intensify this fall – ideological, economic and even military."

According to Director of the Ukrainian Barometer sociological service Viktor Nebozhenko, "Putin's article can also be viewed as a message to future Russian statesmen."

"Firstly, he understands that he is not immortal. Secondly, he believes that only the Russian Empire can be the seat of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus [...] I would call this Putin's political testament, but not in the sense of his withdrawal, but in the sense of reasoning about the future," Nebozhenko said.

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