Putin now ‘hostage’ to Ukraine war as President’s downfall set-out: ‘There is no choice’

Putin says Russia 'ready to offer' allies 'modern types of weapons'

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Russia’s losses in Ukraine now total around 44,000, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Its latest daily running tally on Wednesday also confirmed that the heaviest recent losses were in Kharkiv and Donetsk. Putin has faced major difficulties during the invasion after numerous setbacks, including Ukraine’s fierce resistance and technical problems.

There have also been supply issues due to the Russian military’s creaky logistics system which has been decimated by Ukrainian attacks.

Now, a leading Russia expert has explained why Putin is “hostage” to his war, as he is under pressure to deliver a positive result for Russia.

Professor Nikolai Petrov is a senior research fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House and an expert in Kremlin decision-making in Putin’s Russia.

He told Express.co.uk: “I sense that Putin is now a hostage of the decision he made.

“So, there is no choice, and this makes a very serious difference.

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“Until this decision, Putin all the time was trying to avoid any moves, which would cut off any other options.

“It looks like there is no choice, he should increase his pressure on Ukraine, because he has already paid a huge price, which is much bigger than could have been imagined before making this move.

“But, in order to justify all these losses, he needs to get something in order to demonstrate to the elites that there are not only costs, but there are some benefits.”

In Russia, the Kremlin has told the public that the war in Ukraine is merely a “special operation”.

However, in recent weeks there have been increasing warnings that Putin is to face the wrath of Russian parents demanding a Russian withdrawal as they learn how their sons are dying in Ukraine.

Prof Petrov argues Ukraine has already won the war in a “moral sense” and has called for the fighting to cease.

He said: “In my view, the war should be stopped as soon as possible.

“We can say that Ukraine did already win in a moral sense, but it cannot win militarily because its forces are very disproportionate.

“The West, which is not eager to intervene, is very rational not to take this risk of war between NATO and Russia with the nuclear [threat] and everything else.

“Ukraine should do its best in order to make any agreement in order to reach a kind of compromise to get a ceasefire and push Russian troops out of Ukraine.”

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Experts remain divided over what Putin would need to achieve in Ukraine to be able to declare a Russian victory.

However, as discontent among the Russian public grows, Prof Petrov explained how even members of the same family are divided over the war.

He said: “You cannot easily accept the idea that your government, your leader, are committing war crimes, that they are doing horrible things.

“Because, if so, then you should take action. It is much easier not to let in this information, which can violate your more or less harmonic vision of the road and the idea that ‘the Russian army is liberating Ukrainian brothers from the Nazi regime’.

“We do have many cases when members of the same family cannot understand each other.

“Like, for example, when daughters are calling their father who lives in Russia, telling him all these horrible things and his reaction is that it cannot be the case.

“‘You are under propaganda, and it cannot be the case’ – he cannot accept this.”

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