Putin believes that the whole of Ukraine is an inalienable part of Russia.
In his fantasy, Ukraine is the Soviets’ creation and to him, the Ukrainians are the same as Russians, hence why he feels entitled to “liberate” Ukraine from “the Western brainwashed Nazi drug addicts who stole Ukraine from the Soviet Union.”
Through winning his anti-Ukraine war he is intent on “demilitarising” the country, by wiping out Ukraine’s leadership and turning the whole of Ukraine into a Russian vassal state with a puppet government subservient to him installed there just like in Belarus.
In Belarus, its dictator stole the last election from the legitimately winning democratic opposition. The population revolted, but with Russian backing, they were brutally silenced.
Belarus’ legitimately elected leader had to go into exile and power stayed with the Putin subservient dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. He is now doing his best to assist Putin to turn Ukraine into another Belarus. He is enabling Putin to attack Ukraine from the North from Belarus too through the massive Russian troops there backed by Lukashenko’s own military force.
But in Ukraine, the situation is different from Belarus. Only the Russian-majority populated regions of Ukraine seem to show popular support for Putin – the two breakaway Eastern self-declared republics and Crimea. The rest of the forty million population of vast Ukraine now seem to hate Putin with all their hearts and have no appetite to put up with a possible Putin dictatorship over them.
The extraordinary anti-Russian resistance in Ukraine has two important consequences.
First, it will prolong Putin’s war and it may undermine his ability to win over the whole of Ukraine and decapitate its leadership altogether.
This may force Putin to stop short of recapturing the whole of Ukraine and of incorporating it into a resurrected Russian empire. He might then be forced to negotiate with Ukraine’s current leadership for lesser gains.
Secondly, even if he can occupy and militarily defeat the whole of Ukraine and wipe out its government, the likely scenario is that the population would then continue to engage in guerrilla warfare supported by a continued flow of armaments to the rebels from the West.
Ukraine then might turn into an Afghanistan-like nightmare for Putin – super-costly unwinnable prolonged warfare that would not only turn Ukraine into a failed state but would also likely undermine Putin’s ability to stay in power.
So if Putin cannot militarily win decisively in the next few weeks, he may be forced to negotiate with Ukraine and get out of there, if he can get some face-saving Ukrainian concessions. And it looks as though others are also contemplating the same ideas.
Such a deal, under the circumstances where NATO will not directly come to Ukraine’s defence, may also be the least horrible compromise for Ukrainians to cut their tragic losses.