Putin's plans for Ukraine: "He already has the successor for Zelensky ready’

De oorlog in Oekraïne is onoverzichtelijk. Aan zeker drie fronten wordt gevochten, de hoofdstad Kiev staat op het punt omsingeld te worden, andere steden worden belegerd of zijn al ingenomen. Wat is Poetins plan? Bob Deen, Oost-Europa- en defensiedeskundige van Clingendael, schetst vier waarschijnlijkste scenario’s.
Plan A: Kiev innemen en daar een pro-Russische regering installeren

Dit is Poetins gedroomde scenario. Kiev veroveren, president Zelensky en zijn regering afzetten (of uitschakelen) and install a pro-Russian government as soon as possible.

But this plan is not going as Russia had hoped. The resistance of the Ukrainian army and population is stronger than expected. The huge convoy that should surround the city from the north is moving slowly. There would be logistical problems, such as a shortage of petrol and food for the troops.

For now, Putin is sticking to this scenario. According to Ukrainian media, he even has a successor ready: oud-president Viktor Janoekovitsj. “Het is heel bijzonder dat Poetin denkt dat hij hiervoor geschikt is, want hij werd eerdertwee keer zelfsdoor de Oekraïners verjaagd. Maar in Poetins realiteit is hij het gelegitimeerde gezag en zijn de leiders die na hem zijn gekozen ‘ondemocratisch’. Janoekovitsj past helemaal in Poetins plan om autocraten in de regio te installeren.
Plan B: Oekraïne opdelen in oost en west

Als het niet lukt om Kiev te veroveren dan kan het zijn dat Poetin zich richt op plan B: a division of the country. Ukraine would then be divided in two: a western part, of which it is not yet clear to what extent it will become independent, and eastern and southern part. Here would come a new state, Novorossiya (New Russia), where Russia rules. Russian politicians have been speculating about a split for years and cards are regularly circulating, also in Kremlin-controlled media.

The question of this scenario is also whether it is feasible. Major cities in the east continue to resist. Also the almost half Russian-speaking city of Kharkiv, which has been under fire for a few days now, the Russian army has not yet been able to take. In addition, the Russians have put a lot of bad blood with their attacks, says dane.

“Where previously in the east of Ukraine lived many Russian-speaking people who felt culturally connected with Russia, is that since 2014 clearly less. There is also a lot of resistance against the invasion here. And of course, dropping bombs on a city is the quickest way to lose all sympathy.”
Plan C: Take what you can get

If plan B also fails, then Putin will want to expand his influence at least in the south and connect the occupied Crimea and the Donbas. There is a lot of movement on the southern front right now. This is where the army makes the biggest steps. Cherson, a city about the size of Utrecht, is de eerste grotere stad die door het Russische leger is ingenomen en om de belangrijke havenstad Marioepol wordt hard gevochten.

Ook bij dit scenario is het einde van de oorlog niet in zicht. Deen: “Hoe denkt Poetin om te gaan met een vijandige bevolking? Als er een marionettenregering komt in Kiev, of het land wordt opgedeeld, is de kans groot dat ze in een langdurige guerrilla-oorlog terechtkomen. Willen ze het hele oosten gaan ‘zuiverenvan pro-westerse Oekraïners? Dat is natuurlijk onmogelijk.
Plan D: A compromise without losing face

The war may end at the negotiating table. Although there are no signs to indicate that yet. Russia wants Ukraine to be demilitarized and to recognize the annexation of Crimea. Unacceptable demands for the West. But because a long-drawn-out and unwinnable war is not a good prospect for Putin either, could he be forced to look for a compromise that both sides can live with.

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