Russia’s war on Ukraine isn’t going terribly well, as an endless stream of leaked phone calls from Russian soldiers has confirmed to the world. Nor does video footage of soldiers being told to use tampons to treat their own bullet wounds look great. Yet Putin still decided to roll out an annexation event, in which he proclaimed that four regions of Ukraine are now part of Russia. That amounts to 15% of Ukrainian territory (mostly villages), but it’s grown increasingly clear (over the course of seven months) that Putin’s army won’t be able to take Kyiv. That didn’t stop Putin from telling Kyiv to stand down and negotiate with him during his Friday speech.
Will he have the manpower to even attempt to do so? Last week, the Russian president grew desperate and drafted 300,000 reservists, and in the midst of the chaos, his regime decided to draft protesters and ship them to Hell, too. Following public pressure, Putin has admitted (to his Security Council) that mistakes were made with the draft. Via the New York Times::
President Vladimir V. Putin acknowledged “mistakes” on Thursday in how the Russian government has been carrying out his draft, a sign of the Kremlin’s scramble to keep public discontent in check over Mr. Putin’s effort to escalate the war in Ukraine.
In televised remarks to top security officials, Mr. Putin said that the draft had raised “many questions,” and that “all mistakes must be corrected and prevented from happening in the future.” He described cases of people entitled to deferments being wrongly drafted, such as fathers of three or more children, men with chronic diseases or those above military age.
As well, Putin’s Friday speech (according to Washington Post reporter Mary Ilyushina) featured a rant about gender identity including, “The West’s suppression of moral values acquires the features of Satanism.” The Telegraph notes that he ranted for quite some time about Western countries, including the United States, and he warned Russians to save their “future generations” from the West: “We have to protect them from enslavement and experiments that can crippled their bodies and souls.”
This bizarre tangent appears to be how Putin’s justifying his war, although it’s truly a mystery how he believes that his distaste for the West has anything to do with turning the Ukrainian people’s world upside town. And still, he insisted that the newly annexed Ukrainian regions are due to “the will of millions of people” in Ukraine.