Russian President Vladimir Putin may seek to consolidate what he has got in Ukraine and dig in like a “cancerous growth” within the country, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Thursday.
“I think it’s certainly the case that Putin, having failed in nearly all his objectives, may seek to consolidate what he’s got, sort of fortify and dig in as he did in 2014. And just be a sort of cancerous growth within the country of Ukraine and make it very hard for people to move them out of those fortified positions,” he told Sky News.
You can see in his current statements he is, in almost desperation, trying to broaden this either with threats or indeed, with potential false flags or attacks,” he added.
Some background: Russia’s initial assault, launched on February 24, was a massive setback for Putin as the Ukrainian military held off the invading forces as they advanced toward Kyiv.
Moscow’s second phase appears focused on reinforcing its presence in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, parts of which Russian-backed separatists have controlled since 2014, and carving out a land bridge linking the Russian region of Rostov with Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine eight years ago.