Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill
Over the weekend, the Russian navy fired upon and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels, wounding multiple sailors in the process. In addition, a Russian ship has been positioned to block entrance from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine has called for an emergency U.N. session and has voted to partially implement martial law throughout Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive move will intensify Russia’s international isolation as a pariah — but Putin had to create a diversion to promote his narrative of Russia’s encirclement.
He hopes that this action will restore his public opinion ratings on which his regime’s legitimacy rests.
Putin was elected against nominal opposition to a fourth term as president of the Russian Federation in March. Barring the unexpected, he will serve out his final (according to Russia’s constitution) six-year term, which will end in 2024 when he is age 74. Counting his “hiatus” as prime minister, Putin will likely match Joseph Stalin’s quarter-century of rule.