Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (R) with Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm amid discussions about NATO membership, April 2022 (Reuters)
I joined Beverley O’Connor on Australia’s ABC on Thursday to review the latest developments in Ukraine and to evaluate Vladimir Putin’s threats to Sweden and Finland as they move towards NATO membership.
This is entirely in line with Russia and Putin’s playbook. As well as conducting an invasion of Ukraine, he is also engaged in an information war. He tries to use bluster and threats to divide the West and make his opponents uncomfortable, making them back down.
I also juxtapose Putin’s chest-thumping about nuclear weapons with the note that “they have no military utility in this war with Ukraine”: “Their political consequences would outweigh any benefit on the battlefield.”
Putin has tried to bludgeon countries into stopping support of Ukrainians.
In fact, the West has become more assertive in its support. In part, that is because of outrage over what the Russians have done to Ukrainian civilians. In part, it’s because of how well the Ukrainians have done in defending themselves. And in part, it’s because the West have seen that the Russian military is potentially defeatable.