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Putin’s potential Ukraine strategy unveiled as Chechnya ‘terror provides blueprint’

Russia: Hillary Clinton warns Putin repeating mistakes of past

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The Ukrainian population continues to resist Russian forces as the invasion of its country reaches day 14. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon that the Kremlin has only achieved one of its aims. He revealed that British intelligence believes the capture of Kherson is the only success of the invasion so far, but sought to add that the “situation on the ground is grave”.

Mr Wallace added that although Russia has encircled cities like Mariupol, it does not yet control them, and its air dominance has been prevented by Ukrainian air defence systems.

The UN estimates up to 2.2 million refugees have already fled Ukraine with the conflict showing no signs of slowing.

Quite what Putin will do next is anyone’s guess given the unpredictable nature of the Russian President, but security expert Jonathan Jackson told Express.co.uk that past incursions may provide a “blueprint” of the strategy he might take going forward.

Mr Jackson, a senior teaching fellow in policing and security at Birmingham City University, said: “The situation is going to get far worse and Putin’s own actions in Chechnya in the late Nineties provides a blueprint of the strategy that he may look to adopt.

“The use of massive bombardments and terror tactics are very likely to drive the Ukrainian government to the negotiating table and put the Russians in a position of strength.

“The reluctance to comply with locally negotiated ceasefires is all part of the terror tactics to damage public confidence in the Ukrainian government to keep them safe.”

The First Chechen War took place from December 1994 to August 1996, and the second was between August 1999 and April 2000.

One of Putin’s first major acts as Russian Prime Minister in 1999 was to oversee a wholesale attack on anti-Moscow separatist rebels in Chechnya.

He sent forces into the republic, located on the eastern end of the North Caucasus, attempting to regain control from separatists.

The Kremlin used infantry, tanks, planes and artillery and relentlessly bombed civilian areas — with seemingly little care for civilian lives — killing tens of thousands of people in the process.

The capital city of Grozny was carpet bombed with up to 4,000 bombs falling every hour.

Four years on from the initial invasion, the United Nations declared Grozny the “most destroyed city on earth”

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On a visit to Estonia last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that he fears Putin may try to “Grozny-fy Kyiv” and reduce it to rubble.

The UN human rights office on Tuesday said it had verified 474 civilian deaths so far in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Mr Jackson suggested Putin’s invasion could form part of a “long-term strategic thinking” over the supply of natural resources to Europe.

He said: “The natural resources that are stored in the ground of the Ukraine cannot, of course, be overlooked and may hold some of the reasoning behind this most terrible of invasions.

“Supply of oil, gas, and precious metals will be vital to the future of a nation’s status in this resource century and combined with Putin’s insistence on occupying these territories along with the warm water ports on the Black Sea, suggests a long-term strategic thinking regarding the domination of source, supply, and distribution.”

He continued: “The conditions mirror those of Germany in 1945 and it is likely that a divided Ukraine is a serious possibility, similar to that of East and West Germany, with one side aligning with Russia and the other with the EU.

“Putin cannot back down, and his public image is built upon the notion of the ‘strongman’.

“To withdraw now would make his position at home extremely precarious amongst his inner circle.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping all agreed to support negotiations aimed at a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict in a one-hour video conference yesterday.

Yet Mr Jackson suggested a diplomatic solution would ultimately prove “humiliating” for the Ukrainian population.

He said: “Yes, this situation can be resolved diplomatically but it will take time and likely create a situation which the Ukrainian people do not want or deserve.

“The concessions will likely be incredibly damaging and humiliating but much of it will depend on the levels of resistance, changing mood of the oligarchs surrounding Putin and the impacts of the economic sanctions on the Russian state.”

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