I also spoke with Turkey’s ANews and India Ahead on Wednesday about Vladimir Putin’s attempt to stave off defeat with a declaration of partial mobilization and annexation “referenda” in Russian-occupied eastern and southern Ukraine.

Putin told Russians that this would be a quick “operation” and wouldn’t affect many of them. Now he’s having to admit that the war will not be quick without saying that Russia is being defeated in areas like northeast Ukraine.

Putin has isolated himself from those who were trying to stay neutral.

Imagine what Indian Prime Minister Modi must be thinking right now: “I told this man to stop and negotiate, and a few days later he’s thrown this back in my face and is threatening the use of nuclear weapons”.


I joined RTE Radio 1’s Claire Byrne to analyze Vladimir Putin’s speech announcing a partial mobilization and annexation “referenda” in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

Listen to Discussion from 10:14

We’re now on Vladimir Putin’s third gamble, having lost the first two.

He lost the gamble that he could quickly capture Kyiv and topple the Zelenskiy Government.

He is losing the gamble that his troops could seize more territory in the east and south of Ukraine.

So today we get the third gamble, “I’m going to have to admit this isn’t just a ‘special military operation.’. I’m going to have to call up reservists and admit this is a longer-term battle. And I’m going to thump my chest and try to get the international community to back up support of Ukraine because I have nuclear weapons.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: As Vladimir Putin faces the failure of his invasion of Ukraine, I spoke with Australia’s ABC and London’s Times Radio about the state of the conflict and Putin’s next steps.

The interviews were conducted just before Putin’s national address on Wednesday morning, announcing a partial mobilization and endorsing annexation “referenda” in occupied Ukrainian areas.

See also Ukraine War, Day 210: Putin’s Gamble — “Partial Mobilization” and Annexation “Referenda” in Occupied Areas

Watch ABC’s The World from 11:39

In a Tuesday chat with Beverley O’Connor, I begin with Putin’s increasing isolation, explaining China’s caution and the face-to-face message from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop the war — and why this will not stop the Russian leader from persisting with his losing invasion.

Putin has invested not just his present but also his legacy in conquering most of Ukraine.

So when does he put his hands up and say, “I haven’t achieved that”?

I then address how to pursue accountability and justice over Russia’s war crimes: “While the investigation is carried out, it’s important — not just as analysts but as human beings — to remember that we are talking about thousands of civilians murdered and to cut through the Russian disinformation.”

And I pre-empt the Kremlin’s endorsement of the staged “referenda” for annexation of occupied territory: “It won’t stop the Ukrainian military pressure, and it doesn’t reflect that most people in Ukraine are welcoming the liberation of their areas rather than saying we want to stay with Moscow.”

Listen to Times Radio from 45:11

I spoke with Anna Cunningham about two hours before Putin’s statement on Wednesday morning, anticipating the challenges over his partial mobilization and backing of the “referenda”.

This isn’t a carefully-organized vote. It’s a sham process, but it’s one the Russians have to stage to pretend they have even a shred of legitimacy….

The prospect is not that you will have an easy transition for these territories to become part of Russia, but that Kyiv is going to liberate more and more territory — including some territory that Russia has effectively held since 2014.