WWhat happened on Friday in the Kremlin’s Georgievsky Hall has nothing to do with Article 1 of the UN Charter, which President Putin invoked. The “self-determination of the peoples” mentioned in it does not consist in forcing the decimated population of invaded war zones to join the aggressor state.
The lies and colonialism that Putin accused the West of is something he practices in Ukraine himself. The fact that he used large parts of his speech to take charge of the “Western hegemony”, especially the American hegemony, shows how secondary the fate of the people is in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia is for him in reality. He sees himself in the great historical struggle for values with the West.
Not much changes at the front
However, even on the day of the official annexation, things did not go according to plan, which the Kremlin had always considered fulfilled until recently. The governor in Donetsk had to report the encirclement of a strategically important small town. The fact that this and other places next week belong to the Russian state “forever” from Moscow’s point of view will not change much at the front at first. The Ukrainians and their allies have made it clear that they will not accept Putin’s illegal demarcation of borders.
If they did, it would be a capitulation that the West should avoid for its own sake: It’s really about values, Putin is right about that. But he does not defend that of freedom. The petrified looks of the audience, which had to applaud his conquest, give an idea of how the Russian elite now assesses the outcome of this struggle.
This time, the ailing warlord refrained from making explicit nuclear threats. It may be beginning to dawn on him that this tactic is putting himself under immense pressure. “People who talk about a nuclear escalation are acting very irresponsibly,” his spokesman said. That is also correct.