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Biden pulls the emotional string with Russians, says war will be “without cause or reason,” even as America is ready; Putin poised to counter looming legacy as the man who lost Ukraine to the Euro-Atlantic orbit, experts say

President Putin (left) and President Biden right): The United States President, Joe Biden, again knocked the ‘’doors of appeal,” even as he warned that an attack on Ukraine by Russia will “be met with overwhelming international condemnation.”

The United States President, Joe Biden, again knocked the ‘’doors of appeal,” even as he warned that an attack on Ukraine by Russia will “be met with overwhelming international condemnation.”

While pulling emotional strings with the people of Russia in a speech at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said that the US and its allies are not a threat to them and that there’s “plenty” of room for diplomacy to avoid a conflict in Europe.

“The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Neither the US nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not — do not — have plans to put them there, as well. We’re not targeting the people of Russia. We do not seek to destabilize Russia. To the citizens of Russia: you are not our enemy,” Biden said.

In furthering the emotion mileage, Biden said he did not believe the Russians wanted “a bloody destructive war against Ukraine, a country and the people with whom you share such deep ties of family history and culture.”

Harkening to World War II, Biden pointed out that Americans and Russians had “fought and sacrificed side by side in the worst war in history.”

“World War II was a war of necessity, but if Russia attacks Ukraine, it would be a war of choice — a war without cause or reason,” he said, adding that he was not trying to “provoke,” but instead wanted to “speak the truth.”

“If Russia does invade in the days and weeks ahead, the human costs for Ukraine will be immense, and the strategic cost for Russia will also be immense,” the President warned. “If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be met with overwhelming international condemnation.”

“The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction,” he said. “Invading Ukraine will prove to be a self-inflicted wound.”

The President said the US is “proposing new arms control measures, new transparency measures (and) new strategic stability measures,” adding that “these measures apply to all parties — NATO and Russia alike.”

“We’re willing to make practical, result-oriented steps that can advance our common security,” he continued. “We will not sacrifice basic principles, though. Nations have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. They have the freedom to set their own course and choose with whom they will associate. But that still leaves plenty of room for diplomacy and for de-escalation. That’s the best way forward for all parties in our view.”

Biden said that though the US is “not seeking direct confrontation with Russia,” he’s been clear “that if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully.”

Vladimir Putin is currently menacing the world with the prospect of a major war. Having massed a vast invasion force of over 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, Putin wants the world to believe that his actions are a reasonable response to the eastward expansion of the NATO alliance.

However, analysts do not see any evidence to support these claims of a looming NATO threat. In recent weeks, Putin has issued a series of increasingly insistent requests for guarantees that Ukraine will never join NATO, threatening a military response should his demands be ignored.

While Ukraine has virtually zero chance of joining NATO for the foreseeable future, Putin has suggested that growing informal ties also pose a threat.

Russia’s concerns over NATO enlargement are not entirely fabricated, of course. Moscow has long complained about the post-1991 expansion of the alliance beyond the old Iron Curtain, and has frequently accused NATO of intruding into a region that Russia regards as its geopolitical backyard.

Experts on Russia say that the emergence of a genuinely independent and democratic Ukraine is viewed by many in the Kremlin as a direct attack on Russia’s imperial identity and an existential threat to the country’s authoritarian system of government. For a generation of Russian leaders still haunted by the pro-democracy uprisings that sparked the collapse of the USSR, the rise of a European Ukraine looks ominously like the next stage in a nightmare scenario stretching all the way back to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Putin himself underlined the extent of his preoccupation with Ukraine in July 2021 when he published an essay openly questioning the historical legitimacy of Ukrainian statehood while insisting Russians and Ukrainians are “one people.” “I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”

Putin had in 2004, visited Kyiv on the eve of Ukraine’s presidential election to openly campaign for his preferred candidate. This heavy-handed intervention was a grave miscalculation, infuriating millions of previously apolitical Ukrainians and directly helping to provoke the pro-democracy Orange Revolution.

Ten years later, he responded to a second Ukrainian pro-democracy uprising by ordering the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The war unleashed by Putin in 2014 continues to this day and has proven disastrous for Russian ambitions in Ukraine. While Moscow has managed to occupy around 7% of the country, Russian influence throughout the rest of Ukraine has plummeted to historically unprecedented lows. Pro-Russian political parties have been marginalized while successive governments in Kyiv have kept the country on a course towards greater Euro-Atlantic integration.

Putin is painfully aware that his entire legacy now depends on his ability to reverse this trend. Unless he succeeds in the historic mission of returning Ukraine to the Kremlin orbit, he will be remembered by future generations of Russians as a failure. After more than three hundred years of Russian domination, Putin is poised to enter the history books as the man who lost Ukraine.

Russian invasion: to ensure Europe makes it through the winter…

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