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Tipsheet

Latest Russia-Ukraine War Development Could Be Interesting, But Let's Simmer Down

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not going well. What was thought to be a blitzkrieg to victory has turned into a long, bloody slog against an opponent that’s put up a tenacious and lethal defense. The Ukrainians have answered the call to arms. They’ve used what anti-tank weapons they have effectively against Russia’s armored forces. Russian armor has become more of a graveyard of metal. Will Russia prevail? Probably, but only in the sense that they will take the major cities—and even that could be an objective that could take quite some time and more manpower. This will devolve into an insurgency, but we’ll discuss that when we reach that juncture. For now, re-arming the Ukrainians is essential. 

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Russia has been slapped with sanctions. Vladimir Putin knew the international response and gamed that perfectly but didn’t account for the logistical failures of the invasion. Russia gets slapped with sanctions, but I get a whole country. That is worth betting, I guess. But things quickly fell apart. Russia’s oligarchs are already rich and often could tread water regarding sanctions. The European Union and the financial hits, like locking Russia out of SWIFT, means Russia’s wealthy elite are still rich—they just can’t take any money out. These folks fund the Russian war effort. With no funds, Putin’s top backers might place pressure on the autocrat to back down—maybe. At least, that’s what the hope is—but there is no solid evidence that such a coup is coming…until now. The Ukrainians now say the oligarchs are planning to remove Putin (via NY Post):

A group of Russian elites are allegedly conspiring to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin and “restore economic ties” with the West, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

“Poisoning, sudden illness, accident – Russia’s elite is considering removing Putin,” declared a Sunday Facebook post from the Chief Directorate of Intelligence for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The ministry claimed that a group of “influential people” has been forming in Russia who want to “remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, which were destroyed by the war in Ukraine.”

The intel alleges that the group has already been eyeing Alexander Bortnikov, the Russian Director of the Federal Security Service and a member of Putin’s inner circle, as a successor to the president.

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While this would indeed be interesting, let’s simmer down. Ukraine is fighting for its life. Its defense and intelligence forces are doing all they can to not only fight back against their Russian invaders but keep those they have in the trenches motivated and full of hope. 

Yet, if there ever was a cabal who were plotting to get rid of Putin, it would be from these folks—doesn’t mean that’s what’s happening right now. 

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