Originally published in the Express:
Vladimir Putin is waging a “hybrid war” according to a senior academic who questions whether Russia will invade Ukraine.
The news comes as a tense stand-off continues on the Russian border with the former Soviet bloc country. Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to appease the situation, with Moscow demanding the US and other NATO nations provide a concrete guarantee that Ukraine will never be a part of the alliance, and the defence pact stop arming Eastern European members.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Scott Lucas, a Professor Emeritus of International Politics from the University of Birmingham and Chief Editor of EA WorldView, said that Russia is, in fact, fighting a “hybrid war”.
With the build-up of troops heavily present on the Ukrainian border, Professor Lucas suggested the move is being used to distract attention away from Russia’s other influences.
He claimed: “The hybrid war that Russia has been undertaking since 2014 is in some cases direct military operations in Crimea, as well as links to political activity.
“But for the rest of Ukraine, there has been the attempt to purchase or buy off certain oligarchs or politicians to try to get them on Moscow’s side.”
Professor Lucas added:
It’s been the support of the separatists with weapons with logistics with advisors, and with special forces.
It’s been the willingness to supply those weapons even when in 2014 a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down with the loss of almost 300 lives.
It is the willingness to carry out cyber-attacks, repeated cyber-attacks not just on Ukraine, but also on the Baltic states where Putin has been trying to destabilize the area going all the way back to 2007.
Professor Lucas also claimed the hybrid strategy reaches further than Russia’s immediate neighbours.
Mblockquote>It is the willingness to carry out economic sabotage, to threaten the cut off energy supplies, and this hybrid war beyond Ukraine and the Baltic states is against Europe and the United States.
There is intervention in elections, including the support of Donald Trump winning in 2016.
The attempt to defeat or undermine President Emmanuel Macron in France, to undermine Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany was part of this hybrid warfare.
All of this is linked to widespread disinformation and widespread propaganda operations.