10/11/2022, 09.56
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Missiles against Ukraine: Putin's panic and anger

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Kremlin's response to the bombing of the Crimean bridge. At least 84 rockets fired from Moscow at targets including civilians. Expert: Putin wants to terrorise the Ukrainian population. The "czar" is in a panic: he takes contradictory and unpredictable decisions.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Putin has termed yesterday's bombings in different parts of Ukraine "a mass attack with high-precision long-range weapons from air, sea and land bases on energy targets, military detachments and communication networks": a response to the tremendous outrage of the explosive attack on the Crimean bridge, a symbol of the Russian "victory" in these years of war since the annexation of the peninsula in 2014.

At least 84 Russian missiles hit Kiev, Zaporižja, Dnepr, L'vov, Zitomir, Khar'kov, Nikolaev, Odessa, Poltava and other cities. Ukrainian anti-missile defences have intercepted and destroyed about half of them; Moscow has also used 'suicide' drones, including those recently purchased from Iran.

The political scientist Ivan Preobražensky commented on Currentime.tv on the destructive turn of events and what this means for the Kremlin's internal balances: 'Revenge for the Crimean bridge was considered obligatory in this situation', but it is not clear why so many civilian targets such as shopping centres or children's playgrounds were actually hit, rather than power stations or military bases. According to the academic, 'they want to hit the Ukrainian population and try to terrorise them in this way, it is terrorist logic'.

The unprecedented violence of these attacks is also connected to the appointment of yet another 'butcher' as head of Russian military operations in Ukraine. The appointment of 56-year-old General Sergei Surovikin, known for Russian carpet-bombing in Syria, is part of the logic of instilling fear in opponents. It is also a sign of how deep the internal conflict between Putin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Šojgu runs.

The new commander is believed to be one of the ideologues of the concept related to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in ordinary military actions. Preobražensky notes that the massive use of long-range missiles since the beginning of the war, on a scale not seen since the Second World War, has made Russia's 'ordinary' arsenal very small, and actions such as the one these days must be decided quickly, bypassing the entire chain of command, with a phone call from Putin within five minutes.

Putin's reaction to the Crimean bridge bombing on 8 October, moreover, was delayed until the evening of the 9th, revealing the psychopathic condition that was typical of Stalin, especially after the start of the Nazi invasion in 1941. There is no shortage of versions attributing the organisation of the bridge explosion to the FSB hawks, precisely to provoke the uncontrolled rage of the tsar, who is now in the grip of panic and blind fury and intends to punish everyone, looking for culprits inside and outside.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who has repeatedly commented on the 'nuclear doctrine', now avoids commenting on the issue, evidently awaiting the leader's final decisions. The problem is that anger often alternates with panic, and Putin's choices these days appear rather contradictory and unpredictable: the closer the possibility of switching to tactical nuclear weapons gets, the less is known at the top of the political and military ranks.

The point is that nuclear weapons cannot be released at the push of a button, they have to be moved in the right direction, and at present Russia is not yet in a position to move to this 'final' phase of the conflict. The ongoing meeting of the Kremlin's Security Council could be a further trigger in the escalation of the war, but its moves are unlikely to be deciphered any time soon.

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