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Putin to risk ‘high casualties’ for war to be ‘as long as he needs’

Putin's willing to take 'high casualties' over Ukraine says expert

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Vladimir Putin has remained reluctant to enter peace negotiations with Ukraine as the Kremlin’s President hopes to expand Moscow’s territory and create a renewed Russian Empire. Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton has asserted President Putin is willing to risk “high casualties” and global isolation by continuing the invasion of Ukraine. The former senior White House aide suggested the Russian President had high hopes that Western support for Ukraine would fracture over the winter months, weakening Kyiv’s military capabilities.

Speaking on LBC, Mr Bolton reported: “I think [Putin’s] strategy now for the next six months is primarily political.

“If he can freeze the frontlines, and there is a good chance he can do that, he hopes that the West and particularly the European Union will crack – and I worry about that as well.

“Putin has got a long term objective in mind here and that’s the recreation, not of the Soviet Union, but of the Russian Empire.

“In his calculus, which we have failed to understand, he is willing to take high casualties, willing to be isolated from the rest of the world…and he is prepared to go for as long as he needs to.”

Mr Bolton highlighted that the current Russian military strategy relies on a decline in Western military aid to Ukraine.

He told LBC: “[President Putin] counts on our resolve not being as strong as his.”

In a later interview with GB News, the former US National Security Advisor suggested Putin had used the threat of nuclear attack in a bid to discourage Western support for Ukraine.

He said: “I think until this point he has been bluffing. He hopes to play the nuclear card [to] fragment the West, to convince people that we are being too supportive of Ukraine.”

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In September, President Putin declared four occupied regions in Ukraine had been formally annexed into the Russian Federation.

The announcement followed a series of pseudo-referendums conducted by Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

President Zelesnky blasted the “sham referenda” and the result of the votes was not recognised by the international community.

The annexation plot was later undermined as Russian troops were forced to withdraw from Kherson amid military supply issues which compromised their ability to fend off an advancing Ukrainian counter-offensive.

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Discussing the European Union’s support for Ukraine, Mr Bolton aired particular concerns regarding the commitments of the German and French governments.

He said: “In Germany and France, the two major economic players now that Britain has declared independence, [they] are more concerned about their economic relations than they are about Ukraine.”

Addressing America’s military aid scheme, he reported: “Much of our assistance has been later than it needed to be and inadequate quantities.”

Mr Bolton added: “I do think there is a lot of coverage about the spreading isolationist virus in Republican and Democrat parties – I don’t think it’s a threat to military assistance to Ukraine, but Putin will try and play on it, there’s no doubt about that.”

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