During his tenure as President of Russia, Vladimir Putin has made a number of important decisions and has also created a lot of controversy. Amongst these are his annexation of Crimea, the possible use of nuclear weapons, and the war of conquest.
annexation of Crimea
During the last four years, Russia’s invasion of Crimea has been a divisive issue, with the U.S. and Europe calling for the return of the region to Ukraine. It’s also causing unease among Russia’s neighbors.
The referendum on annexation is a key step in Russia’s plan to reintegrate Crimea into the Russian Federation. The peninsula is populated by ethnic Russians, and a large majority of residents want to join the country. The Kremlin has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure in the region.
A vote in the Crimean parliament on February 27 showed that a majority of deputies supported a resolution to hold a referendum on the reintegration of Crimea with Russia. Some lawmakers, however, voted without a quorum.
The Crimean Supreme Council scheduled a vote on March 16, which offered citizens two options. They could choose to revert to the constitution of 1992, or accede to Russia. It was the first time that an all-Crimean referendum was held since Russia seized the peninsula in 2014. The results are still uncertified, but 97% of Crimeans favored the reintegration option.
war of conquest
Despite Russia’s claims that Ukraine’s military is weak, it has failed to gain control of the country. In fact, it has been relegated to holding much of the southeastern territory of the country. It has also suffered a lot of casualties. The conflict is currently in its fourth year and has claimed more than 14,000 lives.
The war started when Russian military invaded eastern Ukraine. During the annexation of Crimea, some Ukrainian citizens sided with the separatists, but some apolitical Ukrainians have also fought back. The snafu has led to the reintegration of some regions. But the war has been a quagmire for Ukraine.
There are reports of widespread atrocities carried out by Russian forces in the occupied areas. It has also been revealed that Russian troops have sent children to their families.
At the same time, Russia has been building up tens of thousands of troops near the border with Ukraine. The conflict has also caused significant damage to the transportation and communication infrastructure in the country.
Russian industrial base too weak to support his military adventures
Among the many risks of the war in Ukraine, the risk of Russia’s losing its military might is a significant one. The economy may be too weak to sustain the Russian military’s ambitions. The price of oil, for example, could plummet by one million barrels a day during the conflict.
Russia’s reliance on oil and gas accounts for roughly 30 percent of the country’s GDP. And it’s estimated that the oil and gas industry contributes at least another fifth of Russia’s exports.
In addition, Russia’s military has lost a large number of fighting vehicles, including several thousand battle tanks, as well as the most modern precision-guided munitions. The impact of the sanctions on the Russian economy has yet to be fully quantified.
The United States has avoided striking the country’s oil and gas sector, but has taken actions to degrade its high-tech industries. The government’s new export controls will cut off over half of the country’s high-tech imports.
potential for nuclear war
During the Cold War, the doctrine of mutually assured destruction was a powerful guiding principle for how the world would handle nuclear conflict. But after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a new era of nuclear warfare may be on the way.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent nuclear saber-rattling has led to widespread international alarm. While no country has officially threatened the use of nuclear weapons, the issue has emerged as a major concern for several countries, including China and India. Those countries have close ties with Russia, and might be worried about its possible use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine.
The Western powers have made clear that they will not resort to nuclear weapons if the conflict in Ukraine escalates. However, the potential for nuclear war is real, and could lead to the partial partition of the country. Neither side wants to risk confrontation.
But if nuclear weapons were used in the Ukraine, the United States would be likely to ramp up conventional weaponry in the country. Western military officials must weigh the options for punishing Moscow. This could include increasing the sales of arms, as well as non-military support to Ukrainian forces.