By MK Bhadrakumar*
(Opinion) Two massive terrorist strikes misfired spectacularly, and a terrible beauty was born in the Ukraine war. These two carefully planned attacks in quick succession — on Nord Stream gas pipelines and Crimean Bridge — were intended as a knockout blow to Russia.
According to President Vladimir Putin, people ‘who want to sever ties between Russia and the EU finally, weaken Europe’ are behind the Nord Stream blasts.
He named the US, Ukraine, and Poland as ‘beneficiaries’.
Last Wednesday, Russia’s domestic intelligence service FSB identified Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, as the mastermind behind the Crimean attack.
The New York Times and Washington Post also pointed fingers at Kyiv, quoting ‘sources’.
While Nord Stream-1 has been disabled, one of the strings of Nord Stream-2 remains intact.
Putin said last week that the pipeline could be restored, and Russia could deliver about 27 billion cubic meters of gas.
‘The ball is on the side of the European Union, if they want — let’s turn on the tap,’ he said.
It is a profoundly embarrassing moment for the EU.
The triumphalism has vanished as Europe is threatened by years of recession caused by the blowback from sanctions against Russia, where the US insisted on cutting off energy ties with Moscow.
The EU has now become a captive market for Big Oil and is left to buy LNG from the US at the asking price, which is six to seven times higher than the domestic price in the US.
The contracted price for long-term Russian supply for Germany used to be about US$280 per 1,000 cubic meters against the current market price hovering around US$2,000.
The Europeans have been nicely played by the Americans.
India should take note of the US’ sense of entitlement. Basically, the Biden administration created a contrived energy crisis whose real aim is war profiteering.
The Crimean Bridge attack of Oct. 8 is much more severe. Zelensky has crossed a red line that Moscow had repeatedly warned him against.
Putin has disclosed that there have also been three terrorist attacks against the Kursk NPP. Russians will settle for nothing less than the ouster of the Zelensky regime.
Russia’s retaliation against Ukraine’s ‘critical infrastructure’, something Moscow has refrained from so far, has profound implications.
Since Oct. 9, Russia has begun systematically targeting Ukraine’s power system and railways.
Noted Russian military expert Vladislav Shurygin told Izvestia that if this tempo was kept up for a week or so, it ‘would disrupt the entire logistics of the Ukrainian military — system for transporting personnel, military equipment, ammunition, related cargo, as well as the functioning of military and repair plants.’
The Americans are cocooned in a surreal world of their self-serving narrative that Russia ‘lost’ the war.
In the real world, though, Ivan Tertel, KGB chief in Belarus, who has an insider view of Moscow, said last Tuesday that with Russia boosting its troop strength in the war zone — 3 lakh troops who have been mobilized plus 70,000 volunteers — and the deployment of advanced weaponry, ‘the military operation will enter a critical phase.
According to our estimates, a turning point will come from November of this year to February of next year.’
Policy-makers and strategists in Delhi and other capitals should carefully note the timeline.
The bottom line is Russia is looking for an all-out victory and will not settle for anything less than a friendly government in Kyiv.
Western politicians, including Biden, understand that nothing is stopping the Russians now. The US’ weapon kitty is running dry as Kyiv keeps asking for more.
When asked whether he’d meet Biden at the G20 in Bali, Putin derisively remarked on Friday, ‘He (Biden) should be asked whether he is ready to hold such negotiations with me or not. I don’t see any need, by and large. There is no platform for any negotiations for the time being.’
However, Washington has not yet thrown in the towel, and the Biden administration remains obsessed with exhausting the Russian military — even at the cost of Ukraine’s destruction.
And, for the Russians too, there is still much to be worked out on the battlefield: the oppressed Russian populations in Odesa (which suffered unspeakable atrocities from the neo-Nazis), Mykolaiv, Zaporizhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv are expecting ‘liberation’.
It’s a highly emotive issue for Russia. Again, the overarching plan of ‘demilitarisation’ and ‘denazification’ of Ukraine must be taken to its logical conclusion.
Putin knows Biden will not want to meet him when all that is over.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said last week, ‘Anyone who seriously believes that the war can be ended through Russian-Ukrainian negotiations lives in another world.
Reality looks different. Such issues can only be discussed between Washington and Moscow.
Ukraine can fight only because it receives military assistance from the United States…
‘At the same time, I do not see President Biden as the person who would be suitable for such serious negotiations. President Biden has gone too far. Suffice it to recall his statements to Russian President Putin.’
India should expect the defeat of the US and NATO, which would complete the transition to multipolar world order.
Sadly, Indian elites are yet to purge their ‘unipolar predicament’.
Europe, including Britain, is devastated, and there is palpable discontent over the US’s ‘transatlantic leadership’.
Indo-Pacific strategy is hopelessly adrift. As the OPEC’s rebuff to Washington shows, new power centers are emerging in India’s extended neighborhood.
A profound adjustment is needed in the Indian strategic calculus and other capitals as well.
* Ambassador M. K. Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, and Turkey
This post is mirrored and was published first here.
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